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14 May 2020

Cambodia: Union condemns dismissal of three members from garment factory supplying to intl. brands amid COVID-19; Incl. company responses

On 7 May 2020, Cambodia's Department of Labour Disputes decided to dismiss three unionised garment workers at the request of Roo Hsing Garment Co. Ltd. The three workers - shop steward and union activist Kon Soch, vice-president of the local factory union Ek Sarun, and secretary of the local factory union Sok Kong - are members of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU) and are accused of inciting a work stoppage to pressure the factory to allow them to take leave over a public holiday that had been cancelled due to COVID-19. Roo Hsing Garment said the employees violated Article 83 of the Labour Law, which prohibits employees from a slew of punishable actions including making threats, committing fraud, stealing and inciting other workers to commit offences.

CATU has said the workers were unfairly dismissed as they were not involved in the stoppage and has released a statement requesting Roo Hsing reinstate them.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited H&M and Levi Strauss & Co. - who are publicly listed as buyers from Roo Hsing Garment Co Ltd - to respond to the allegations. The responses are included below. We also reached out to Gap, who said it has not had any production with Roo Hsing for over a year, and deactivated the factory from its supply base in February 2020.

We received a rejoinder from CATU who said it has "little hope" the international buyers will support a resolution for the dismissed union leaders, who are unable to support themselves and families without wages, and is now preparing to appeal the Ministry of Labour's decision. H&M provided an update and it is included below.

Company Responses

Levi Strauss View Response
Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) View Response