PM calls for ceasefire in industrial dispute
Posted Date: Wednesday, 29-Sep-2010
Prime Minister Hun Sen has called for a “win-win solution” to the ongoing garment-sector dispute that would see all striking workers return to their jobs and the courts drop all complaints filed against them by factory owners. “I appeal to the courts to stop working on the factories’ complaints, and appeal to all the factory owners to allow the workers to return to work, and appeal to the unionists to respect the labour law,” the premier said during a speech at a graduation ceremony at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh.
On September 13, tens of thousands of workers staged strikes that were spurred largely by a July decision to set the industry’s minimum wage at US$61 per month, far below the $93 that some union leaders had sought. The strikes were called off on September 16, but fresh stoppages broke out the next day in response to reports that about 200 union leaders accused of inciting the original strikes had been suspended.
Kong Athit, secretary general of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, said that nearly 20 factories had filed legal complaints against union leaders and other workers who had participated in the strikes, and that more than 800 workers had been suspended or fired in Phnom Penh, Kandal and Kompong Speu provinces. Hun Sen said that he had signed documents on Tuesday that “suggest to the court to stop accusing the workers and also the union leaders, and plead with all factories to accept the workers to return to work”.