SH factory strikes show no sign of tapering off

blogspot.com 26-Apr-2012

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Workers protest for a $10 raise outside SH factory in Phnom Penh. Photo by Mai Vireak

Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Tep Nimol
The Phnom Penh Post

SH factory bosses in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district stood firm for a fifth day yesterday as they again refused to negotiate with more than 700 workers demanding better working conditions.

 
As workers maintained their low-key strike – one notable for its lack of banners, road blocks and flaming tyres – SH administration chief Un Sophoeun said the factory’s boss had again refused to consider their nine demands.

 
These include the sacking of two administration officials and two sewing line leaders.

 
The workers also want a $10 transportation allowance, a $10 bonus toward their rent, a $10 incentive bonus and for their basic salary to be increased to $70.


 
Un Sophoeun said the strike – set to continue today – had cost the company a lot of money, though he refused to reveal how much.

 
“The company has no intention of meeting with the union to settle this dispute,” he said.

 
“The Labour Ministry has already submitted this case to the Arbitration Council and is awaiting its decision.”

 
Lay Sokha, a workers’ representative and vice-president of the Free Trade Union at SH, said the workers tempers were flaring because they felt they were getting nowhere.

 
“The workers became angry yesterday when the company again did not negotiate with them,” she said. “They will keep protesting until the case is settled.”

 
Chea Mony, national president of FTU, said it would be discrimination if the factory, in Choam Chao commune, did not meet with workers to negotiate.

 
The employees’ request for a $10 transportation allowance, a $10 rental bonus and a food allowance for overtime work was “better than the law”, he said, adding that the company should compromise so the workers could return to work.

 
Va Yuvathana, director of the labour dispute office at the Ministry of Labour, said what the workers had demanded was “contrary to the law”.

 
The ministry had no power to resolve the dispute and had submitted the case to the Arbitration Council on Monday, he said.