Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday urged garment and footwear workers to refrain from blocking roads in protest.
Speaking at a gathering of 27,444 workers from 24 factories in Kampong Speu province’s Kong Pisey district, Hun Sen cited a recent incidence in which around 700 workers from Chim Li Cambodia blocked National Road 4 in Por Sen Chey district to demand severance packages they claimed the factory owed them after it shuttered.
The prime minister, who also handed out cash to 1,372 pregnant workers at the gathering, said his government had disbursed a reserve fund of around $22 million to garment and footwear workers whose factory owners fled after closure.
“I really don’t understand. A [national] road was blocked on Monday. I wish to appeal to all of you that [the government] would not keep you penniless. We have already paid around $22 million in cases where factory owners fled,” he said
“Blocking the road would not cause owners’ death; it’s the motorists travelling on National Road 4 that bore the brunt. Money issues can be solved, so don’t block the road. Think about it: Do you want to get bad karma by closing the road?
Frankly speaking, it’s legally wrong, it’s also morally wrong. For instance, when patients who need emergency treatment get stuck in traffic because of the road block, who will be responsible? ” he asked.
Hem Hoeurn, a senior Labour Ministry official, said his ministry is working to find a solution for them – what benefits the workers could get after the closures.