garment workers
Former Dignity Knitter workers rest under a tent in front of the closed garment factory in Takhmao City on May 1, 2020. (Hun Sirivadh/VOD)

Awaiting Payouts, Fired Garment Workers Keep Watch Outside Factory

About 100 fired garment workers have been guarding their closed factory in shifts since mid-January. They aim to ensure the owner does not sell equipment left inside and disappear with the money before paying workers what they are owed by the end of May.

Workers travel by truck from a factory along National Road 5 in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo District on April 22, 2020. (So Chey Oudom/VOD)

Close-Quarter Commutes, Covid-19 Risks Leave Garment Workers Worried

Garment factories have taken precautions in an effort to prevent Covid-19 from spreading down assembly lines. But workers and labor advocates say they are concerned the cramped trucks that ferry workers to factories could be potential hot spots for infection.

A garment worker checks pants in a factory in Cambodia on December 9, 2014 (ILO)

Svay Rieng Garment Factory Suspends 2,000 Workers

More than 2,000 garment workers have been suspended from a factory in Svay Rieng province for two months, with the company saying it cut employees because the factory had received no orders from buyers amid the Covid-19 economic downturn.

Workers mostly stay in their rented rooms during a self-isolation period, coming out occasionally to buy food, at a block of dorms where garment workers live in Phnom Penh’s Choam Chao commune on April 22, 2020. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)

Workers Isolate in Dorms After Stay-at-Home Order

Workers who were told to isolate at home as a Covid-19 precaution said they would accept orders to take time off. But with more garment factories suspending production due to reduced orders, some workers worry their leave will be extended indefinitely.

Prime Minister Hun Sen discusses the nation’s response to Covid-19 at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, in a photograph posted to his Facebook page on April 7, 2020.

Promised Pay for Suspended Garment Workers Reduced, New Year Postponed

Prime Minister Hun Sen said garment workers who are suspended due to Covid-19 disruptions would receive an even smaller partial salary than he originally announced, while also postponing the Khmer New Year holiday and claiming that the “safest place” amid the pandemic was at work.