Friday, January 11, 2019

Cambodian Strikers Victimised

The blog very recently posted on the strikes and protests in Bangladesh. Such actions were not without consequences, unfortunately.

There has been the sacking of about 1,200 staff from garment factories in Cambodia supplying brands including H&M and Marks & Spencer after a mass strike has sent a ripple of fear through the industry, experts said.

Thousands of workers from factories in and around Phnom Penh went on strike last week amid fears bosses were plotting to circumvent a new government edict to pay - and backpay - bonuses based on length of employment. A court found the strikes were illegal and ordered workers back to factory floors. About 1,200 who ignored the order had their contracts torn up. The sackings fuel longstanding anxieties about job security and the fight for decent working conditions.
It sends a kind of fear through the industry, particularly for those workers who have a limited knowledge of the law," said Khun Tharo, a program coordinator at the Center for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights.

Muth Ron, a seamstress for more than 10 years at a factory that supplies Marks & Spencer, said fears of being left empty handed had spurred the strikes. Factory management, she said, had begun trying to replace worker ID cards and have them sign new contracts - a strategy, workers believe, to wipe clear accrued benefits.
"We were afraid that they were not going to pay, so we started making our demands," she said.
"The sackings send a chilling message," said William Conklin, Cambodia country director for the Solidarity Center, a U.S.-based charity promoting labour rights. "But these factory workers are very brave people. In the face of intimidation and harassment from employers and management, they will continue to assert themselves."

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