In a mass firing the scale of which has not been seen since January, Phnom Penh’s Xin Fang garment factory yesterday terminated 106 employees for protesting in front of the factory.
Management at the Por Sen Chey district factory on Thursday already sacked nearly 30 striking workers who ignored a court injunction for them to return to work, said Vong Thavin, Xin Fang’s administrative manager.
“We do not want to fire them, but they are obstinate, so we have to implement our factory’s rules,” Thavin said.
About 400 Xin Fang strikers marched from the factory to the Ministry of Labour to demand government intervention. Protesters, represented by the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), walked out August 18, appealing for the reinstatement of three fired workers as one of their 20 demands.
Firing so many workers at one factory has been an anomaly since nationwide strikes amid minimum wage disputes in December and January, said Dave Welsh, country director for labour rights group Solidarity Center.
“That [firing] and the [government] seemingly trying to prosecute every independent union leader – it’s moving backward,” Welsh said, referring to six union leaders being called for questioning regarding violent protests in January.
C.CAWDU legal officer Seang Yuth yesterday said Xin Fang’s actions run contrary to Cambodia’s labour laws.