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Article

4 Jan 2017

Author:
Mech Dara & Ananth Baliga, The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia: Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association marks 3rd anniversary of fatal protests of workers demanding higher wages; while other unions' events are not allowed

"Veng Sreng anniversary muted", 4 January 2017

Only one major union commemorated the third anniversary of the fatal … wage protests on Veng Sreng Boulevard …, with other unions saying they were “too busy” to mark the day.

The Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), a union for informal workers, … held a religious ceremony at its offices to mark the anniversary of wage protests that were violently shut down at the capital’s Veng Sreng Boulevard and the Yakjin garment factory ....

Workers took to the streets … to protest a minimum wage hike from $80 to $95, but the protest was ended by military and police forces ..., when they fired live ammunition at workers on Veng Sreng, killing at least four, with another worker – last seen with bloody chest wounds – missing and presumed dead.

“Today is a reminder of the suffering at Yakjin after the brutal violence used by Special Command Unit 911,” said Vorn Pov, president of IDEA. “It is clear who beat us, but they still got away.”

Pov was badly beaten while trying to ease tensions between workers and security personnel outside Yakjin factory, and was subsequently charged, along with nine others, for intentional violence.

…, three other major unions – Free Trade Union, Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCADWU) and Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions – said they were too busy to attend the event or hold their own commemorations…

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