Workers, factory owner reach agreement over unpaid wages, benefits

28 Oct 2019 Ferado

More than 3,000 workers from the Chinese-owned Jiun Ye Garment (Cambodia) Co Ltd factory in Kampong Chhnang province, who protested on Tuesday over unpaid wages and benefits, have agreed with their employer to a payment timeline.

A Jiun Ye representative claimed that the factory, located in the province’s Samaki Meanchey district, is in danger of permanently closing its doors after losing a major customer.

However, he said the owners are committed to paying the workers’ wages.

CAMBODIA: Eng Chandara, the Free Trade Union President at Jiun Ye Garment Factory, told The Post on Thursday that more than 3,000 workers blocked National Road 5 after going on strike over unpaid wages and benefits on Tuesday.

Some workers had previously tendered their resignation as a result of unpaid wages, he said, while the factory had also made other workers redundant in February and March, but failed to pay their final wages.

Chandara said the workers stopped protesting the same day after the factory agreed to a timeline to pay the wages owed to them.

“We reconciled with the employer as they promised that outstanding wages from September will be paid on Saturday [October 26]. October’s wages will then be paid on November 13.

“On December 2 the employer will pay the last wages and other allowances for workers who tendered their resignation and workers who were made redundant in February and March,” he said.

Him Hoeum, an assistant and interpreter for the factory’s Chinese owners, said the workers had already received most of their wages from September, but some $30 to $40 each was yet to be paid.

He said the factory, which has been open since 2012, had run into financial difficulty after their main buyers in France had cancelled their order in March.

Hoeum continued that the factory’s owner was now searching for a way to pay the workers’ wages.

“His [the factory owner’s] position is that he will pay all the wages, but I am not sure yet whether he will have to sell the factory equipment to come up with the money and meet the deadline.

“He said he will try his best to borrow money from friends to live up to his promise to the workers,” he said.

Hoeum said that on December 2, once the final wages had been paid, the owner will meet with the workers’ representatives to decide whether the factory will continue operating or close its doors.

The deputy director of the province’s Labour Department Sim Sovathana who facilitated discussions between the factory owner and workers, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

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