W&D workers pessimistic over labour dispute resolution
Phnom Penh: Rallying W&D garment factory workers are expressing difficulty in negotiating with the Labour Ministry regarding their unpaid seniority indemnity payments last year.
The workers have been rallying for a number of things over the past few months, including the sacking of colleagues and unpaid benefits.
Despite the rallies, and the promise of a solution, the Labour Ministry has failed to provide any satisfactory answers for the workers, they say.
On Monday, hundreds of workers went to the home of Prime Minister Hun Sen to seek a solution to the deadlock. Again they were told not to rally because the ministry is looking for a solution.
Yesterday, the Labour Ministry released a statement saying that Directive 443 ensures that the workers will receive their unpaid dues.
“The ministry appeals to workers and unions to continue to obey the law and avoid committing activities which could affect public order,” the statement said, adding that the ministry will find a solution.
One unnamed worker said a negotiation meeting was to be held yesterday between workers, the employer and the Labour Ministry.
“I bring word that the big director will meet to negotiate on Tuesday,” the worker said. “Whether you come or not it is your right.”
Saing Chanry, a worker representative who attended the meeting yesterday, said eight workers attended.
“Eight of our representatives went to the Labour Ministry meeting,” she said. “There was no result from the meeting with the company; the company did not accept us back to work.”
Garment worker Seoung Pros said workers have been rallying for about three months. Mr Pros said he is behind on rent and utilities at home.
“We have been having difficulties, thank goodness for charitable people who donated food for us,” he said, adding that a solution is always promised, but never granted. “I hope our case will be given a solution.”
A worker who declined to be named said workers no longer believe that a solution will ever be provided. The worker said that despite the number of meetings, nothing has come to fruition.
“We have been having difficulties in believing them because it has nearly been three months and there is yet to be a solution for us,” the worker said.
According to the Directive 443, employers are required to pay seniority indemnity payments – a bonus equaling to half of a month’s wage – twice a year to qualified workers.