labor
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.

A driver sits in his tuk-tuk, awaiting clients at Deumkor market in Phnom Penh on April 23, 2020. (Panha Chorpoan/VOD)

With Tourism Declines, Tuk-Tuk Drivers Are Down and Out in Phnom Penh

Tuk-tuk drivers in Phnom Penh are losing their income as tourist arrivals to Cambodia plummet and residents decide to stay home during the Covid-19 pandemic. But as informal workers, they are largely excluded from the limited social welfare that others can access.

A Medical Waste Management Unit worker navigates the waste-strewn warehouse floor of the Dangkor landfill in Phnom Penh on April 9, 2020. (Gerald Flynn)

Medical Waste Collectors: Cambodia’s Unseen Front-Line Workers

On the front lines of Cambodia’s fight against Covid-19, the five-man team responsible for disposing of all of Phnom Penh’s medical waste says they are poorly equipped, uninsured and at risk of infection, but few recognize the challenges they face.

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.

Workers at Canteran Apparel (Cambodia) Co. Ltd. protest over unpaid wages at the Phnom Penh factory on March 25, 2020. (Supplied)

Garment Workers Strike Over Unpaid Wages Amid Virus Pandemic

Nearly 1,000 garment workers protested outside a Phnom Penh factory on Wednesday after the owner failed to pay their regular wages, which the company said was due to declining payments from buyers during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.