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Floods close 40 factories

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Workers wade through flooded streets in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district. Hean Rangsey

Floods close 40 factories

Seventy-nine factories in Kampong Speu and Kandal provinces and Phnom Penh have been affected by rain-induced floods and 40 of them have temporarily suspended their operations.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour told The Post on Sunday that more than 40,000 workers were affected.

“The affected factories will improve again and some factories will no longer be flooded on Monday,” he said.

As of Saturday, 62 factories in Phnom Penh, 13 in Kandal and four in Kampong Speu have been affected by the floods.

“Forty factories have suffered a serious hit, thereby suspending the production processes temporarily. But more than 30 factories are still operating normally,” he said.

Kampong Speu provincial labour department director Choek Borin told The Post on Sunday that four factories had been submerged, but their supply chains had not been affected and work was underway as usual.

“The department is still monitoring [these] factories and workers. When the workers run into problems, we help them out. When commuting to the workplace, they experience flooded roads and they are late for work. We coordinate with factory employers to help them,” he said, adding that 145 factories in Kampong Speu were still operating normally.

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika said the flooding was unfortunate and affected factories which are GMAC members.

Additionally, most factories had suffered from the partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme and the decline of orders because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The flooding damaged factory property and also disrupted the production processes. It slows the supply of goods to buyers,” Monika said, adding the delays could result in fines for the factories.

Monika said even when the water recedes, the flood-affected factories could not resume immediately because their machines and other tools need to be checked to ensure they can function properly.

“In the case that we cannot continue production because of internal or external factors, the association asks for permission from the government, especially the labour ministry, to suspend work as quickly as possible,” he said.

Free Trade Union of Workers of Kingdom of Cambodia vice-president Man Senghak said factories involved with his trade union had not been affected by the floods. But he requested factory employers and local authorities to promptly help workers who had been affected.

“My trade union is monitoring information in all local trade unions and [we] ask them to be more careful to avoid risks,” he said.

Last week, the labour ministry advised employers and workers in flood-prone areas to regularly monitor forecasts, prepare safety guidelines and map out evacuation routes in case of a serious flood.

It urged employers to exercise increased caution in places containing chemicals and advised them to make sure cylinders are airtight to avoid leaks which could affect the health of workers and citizens.

The ministry also advised workers to respect guidelines, cooperate with employers and stay away from electrical cables.

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