Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - As workdays dry up, fears of factory calling it quits

As workdays dry up, fears of factory calling it quits

Great Honor Textile Factory employees wait outside the Kandal Provincial Town Hall yesterday morning.
Great Honor Textile Factory employees wait outside the Kandal Provincial Town Hall yesterday morning. Kong Meta

As workdays dry up, fears of factory calling it quits

Worried their employer is going out of business, workers at a long-running Kandal garment factory have asked provincial authorities to ensure they receive their legal payouts, though the company maintains it is not shutting down.

Dozens of workers from Great Honor Textile Factory, which employs 1,014 people and has run for 17 years, visited Kandal Provincial Town Hall yesterday.

It is the fourth time employees have sought the governor’s help with the company, which ended a two-month paid shutdown in January and has since reduced shifts, amid a continuing dearth in orders.

“We went to work for a day [after the shutdown], and we got two days off. How can we get enough salary to make a living?” said 44-year-old line manager Thou Yuna, who has been with the company 15 years.

“We want to know whether the company will be able to provide us with tasks or not and we would still like to be paid our seniority bonuses.”

Noting the Chinese-owned factory had hit hard times, Provincial Governor Mao Phirun reassured the group, saying he would forward the case to the Ministry of Labour. “The factory will not fire the workers, or they will need to pay for their seniority bonuses,” Phearum said.

“If there is work for them; they will call workers to the factory,” he said.

Though acknowledging some machines had been moved into storage, Lim Vegh, Great Honor’s administrative chief, denied the factory would close, blaming low orders on seasonal shifts in demand.

He calculated the company would need to pay workers more than $2 million in entitlements if it shut down.

“If we do that . . . it would kill us, because at the moment, the company is not a good sale,” he said.

Joel Preston, from labour rights group Central, said the company, and a sister factory, had suffered a drop in orders after clothing giant H&M stopped sourcing from their parent firm China Key.

He said there had been three Arbitration Council rulings ordering the factory to pay at least $50,000 in withheld suspension pay to workers.

“It seems like there is a lot owed to workers. It would not surprise me if they close to avoid liability,” Preston said.

Ek Sopheakdey, secretary of the Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said workers were nervous.

“The workers see people measuring the land; they’re worried the company will be sold,” he said.

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Nestle’s debut may spur dairy market

    Leading confectionery manufacturer Nestle plans to invest in Cambodia by setting up an operation in the near future, a move majorly hailed by local dairy farmers as a means of boosting the fresh milk market in the Kingdom. During a visit by a delegation led

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement