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Workers block road in protest

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Factory workers in Kandal province seized equipment and blocked a road over fears their factory would close without paying their wages. Photo supplied

Workers block road in protest

Around 170 workers held a protest on Wednesday by blocking the road and grabbing equipment from their factory in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district after the owner failed to pay their wages.

Sa’ang district deputy police chief Oeun Peng An told The Post on Thursday that the protest erupted after the workers heard a rumour that the TY factory in the district’s Sa’ang Phnom commune became bankrupt, with the owner prepared to ship out the factory’s equipment without paying their wages.

“The workers thought TY would shut down with their wages withheld and the factory’s properties shipped out,” he said.

Before the incident, Peng An said, garments and other equipment were seen transported from TY to another factory in Prek Hou commune allegedly for sale. Because of the protest, the latter allegedly refused to purchase them until after TY resolves the wage dispute.

“TY’s owner had communicated with the owner of another major factory in Prek Hou about the purchase,” Peng An said.

He added that TY employed a total of 173 workers.

“The factory has three branches, near each other. The leasing contract for the one in Toul Sala village had expired so they no longer rent it. Workers who want to work for the factory can still work for them, otherwise they can find jobs at other factories,” he said.

After the protest, Peng An said the local authority helped mediate on Wednesday and Thursday and the factory owner had agreed to pay the 173 workers their wages.

“We’ve reached a compromise. There is no problem now,” he said.

Sor Vichech, acting Sa’ang Phnom commune chief, said as of Thursday morning, more than 50 workers had not received their salaries because they did not come on Wednesday evening. They would be paid later on Thursday, he said.

“We’ve helped resolve the wage dispute. We also helped with the leasing contract between the factory and the landlord. Yesterday, the factory owners took their machinery and other equipment,” he said.

A Chenda, who joined the protest on Wednesday, told The Post on Thursday that his factory always had trouble paying the workers’ wages.

“I got paid on Wednesday morning. Now I work at a different factory,” she said, Chenda moved from Prey Veng province for a job in Kandal province.

“We tried to protest when we saw that the factory was clearing its stocks and we heard rumours that owner tried to run away without paying us,” she said.

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