Five Cambodian women have lost limbs after the overloaded truck they and other garment industry workers were riding was involved in an accident with another truck in Kampong Speu province. One other worker suffered a broken hand and two others were slightly injured.
Provincial governor Vie Samnang, in an interview with RFA’s Khmer Service Thursday, said the accident happened when one truck tried to pass the other and they collided. The workers who lost their arms had been holding the side of the truck to brace themselves.
The governor said that 41 workers were packed into the truck when the accident occurred, and those who were injured were all employed by the Golden Aperia and Horizon factory. The drivers of both trucks were arrested, while the injured workers will have their injuries treated and will draw disability allowances from the government’s National Social Security Fund.
The Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions is working to press the government to provide safe transportation to workers. The alliance’s president, Sar Mora said Thursday that this type of accident is not at all uncommon.
China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported in Oct. 2017 that a garment factory worker was killed and 37 others were injured after two trucks crashed in Takeo province.
Meanwhile the Straits Times published an article in May 2015 detailing how 16 garment workers were killed and 22 were injured after the van they were riding on their morning commute was hit by a bus in Svey Rieng province.
“We are working to ask the government to consider this case as a priority,” Sar Mora said.
The president also said the government and the factories should work together to resolve the issue. The trucks many of the factories use to transport workers are unsafe; they have no seats and riders must stand and hold on to whatever they can to prevent themselves from falling during bumps or sudden stops.
According to the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), since 2001, Cambodia’s garment sector has provided 700,000 jobs to workers from rural areas—80 percent of whom are women.
Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Eugene Whong.