At least 500 workers from three garment factories in Cambodia demonstrated on Tuesday outside the Labor Ministry in the capital Phnom Penh, demanding that government officials intervene in their quest for better working conditions and food and transportation subsidies.
The workers from two factories owned by the company Akeentex in Phnom Penh and one owned by Sixplus in southern Cambodia’s Kandal province marched through the streets until they reached the ministry building, where they submitted petitions asking government officials to intervene because their factories refused to meet their demands for subsidies about a week ago.
Both companies meet minimum wage requirements, but they do not give any subsidies that are typically paid to workers in Cambodia.
Sum Rorng, president of the Union Federation for Worker Security, told RFA’s Khmer Service that his union workers from Sixplus started striking on July 1 to demand subsidies for meals, transportation and housing.
“We have asked for money for transportation and five more dollars for rent and another 1,000 riel [U.S. $0.24] for food,” he said.
Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, told RFA that workers at Akeentex had gone on strike in early July, calling on the company to meet nine demands, including increasing food subsidies, providing transportation subsidies and improving work conditions.
A rival union defended the factory during the strike, but there was no violence, he said.
RFA could not reach the factories for comments.
After submitting their petitions to the ministry, the workers marched to the National Assembly [parliament] and prime minister’s office to seek intervention.
They said they would continue their demonstration if their factories continued to refuse to meet their demands.
Reported by Tha Thai for RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.