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3 Aug 2023

Sovann Sreypich & Runn Sreydeth, CamboJA

Cambodia: Over 10,000 garment workers lose employment as a result of low demands and cancellation of orders by brands/buyers

"Union: Ten Thousand Garment Workers Suspended Since July", 3 August 2023

At least 10,731 garment workers from eight factories in Phnom Penh and Kampong Chhnang province have been suspended or terminated since July, according to a union’s preliminary report.

Touch Soeu, president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC), said the recent mass suspension of garment workers is not new for the industry and is a result of the economic crisis and political landscape in Cambodia.

“Before the suspensions and terminations of worker contracts, the factories told the workers that there were no raw materials, no buyers, and supply and demand were not equal,” Soeu said…

The worker terminations documented in the report reflect a trend in the industry, which has faced other major layoffs this year…

... Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, said that the suspension or dismissal of factory workers is a result of low demand and cancelled orders. On top of that, he said some factory owners exploit their workers and don’t respect labour laws.

“Recently, owners of companies have closed their companies without paying [the workers] and went on to open new ones,” said Thorn.

… Khun Tharo, program manager for the NGO Central, said preliminary data from Central shows that around 20,000 garment workers were suspended or terminated from February to July of this year. He said some factories did not comply with Labor Ministry requirements when laying off or suspending workers.

“This trend [of layoffs] has been going on since the beginning of 2023, but has increased [even more] closer to the national election,” Tharo said.