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Cambodia: Independent unions accuse garment factories of union busting during COVID-19 pandemic

"Garment factories accused of union busting under cover of Covid-19", 22 May 2020

Garment factory owners have been accused of attempting to cull union representatives and members from their workplaces under cover of widespread Covid-19 terminations, with one official even arrested after criticizing lay-offs…

But union leaders say some factory owners are targeting workers who have taken on roles organizing their colleagues …

Kong Atith, head of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (CCAWDU), which is the largest independent union in the country, pointed at two factories in Kandal province he said laid off dozens of union officials.

“The Crystal Martin and QMI factories fired between 30 and 40 union leaders and activists during this Covid-19 disease,” Atith said, noting it was against the Labor Law for factories to discriminate against workers who organize.”…

Yang Sophorn, the head of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Union (CATU), said that four of her members were also terminated from the Golden Apparel factory in Kompong Chhnang province and the Roo Hsing factory in Phnom Penh for “inciting workers to commit crimes” over their unionizing on the factory floor.

… More than 1,000 of officials and members of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), another independent union, had also been laid-off since the Covid-19 slowdown started, said its secretary-general, Preap Monysovann.

Monysovann pointed, in particular, to two workers: Dy Phors, who he said was CUMW’s leader at the Shuang Li factory in Svay Rieng province, and Soy Sros, who had been its leader at the Superl Holdings in Kompong Speu province…

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