Around 200 workers from the Hand Seven Apparel in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district say the factory was shutting down to move to a new location while forcing workers to resign from their positions so it can sidestep compensation requirements.
Nget Raksmey, a worker at the factory, said the workers protested outside the factory for four days after management asked the around 200 workers remaining at the factory to resign from their positions before the factory moved to a new location in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district.
She added that workers were told they would have to reapply for jobs at the new factory location, stripping them of any benefits they had accrued.
“The employer told those who don’t want to go [to the new factory still need] to proactively resign,” she said.
Rin Neng, another worker at the factory, said he participated in negotiations with the factory administration and the Labor Ministry, where the employer said they would delay the closure of the factory to March 2023.
The factory owners vowed they would also pay off all benefits and outstanding payments before closing down next year, according to the worker.
“We requested that if the factory shuts down they need to provide compensation for the workers according to the Labor Law. They promised us to do this,” he said.
Sok Lyheng, who works at the factory’s administrative office, said the factory had not closed down and that workers would return back to work after negotiations Thursday. He did not talk about the decision to push back the closure of the factory.
Sang Sreymach said she had worked at the factory and that she needed either a salary or termination compensation to pay off microloans.
“We, the workers, most of us need loans from a microfinance for spending as our salaries are less than $200,” she said.
The factory previously had around 2,000 workers, workers said, but their numbers had fallen more recently to around 200 workers.