Cambodia: Garment factories fire 1000+ workers after mass strikes over seniority payment
In December 2018, workers of factories W&D (Cambodia) and Seduno Investment Cambo Fashion began a mass strike in and around Phnom Penh citing fears that their employers were planning on circumventing a new government directive to pay - and backpay - bonuses based on length of employment.
In early January 2019, the companies - with the backing of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court - issued an ultimatum to the workers saying that if they did not return to work within 48 hours, they would be fired. When the workers refused to return to work, approximately 1,200 workers were fired.
In January 2019, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited buyers listed on W&D’s website - including Marks & Spencer, Columbia Sportswear, Blackhawk, Aramark, Blauer, Carharrt, Cintas, Body Glove, Rocky Boots, O’Neill, Academy, Scentlok and Cabela’s - to comment on the situation.
Columbia Sportswear said it has not sourced from W&D since 2015. Carhatt said it has begun an investigation and “firmly believes in the right for workers to freedom of association and collective bargaining without fear of reprisal or termination as outlined in our Code of Conduct.”
Marks & Spencer provided a full response, including an update that following mediation over 900 workers have been reinstated. The full company response is included below.
Further comments from Marks & Spencer and also H&M - who sources from Seduno Investment Cambo Fashion - are included in the article below.