5,000 Protest for Benefits in Kompong Speu

About 5,000 garment workers from a factory in Kompong Speu province, which manufactures clothing for U.S. sports giant Nike, on Thursday blocked National Road 4 demanding additional allowances, such as transport and maternity bonuses, a union representative said.

The protest at Sabrina (Cam­bodia) Garment MFG Corp., in Samraong Tong district, has been going since Tuesday, said Sun Vanny, a Free Trade Union representative at the factory. The workers continued demonstrating for about half an hour on Thursday before the owner agreed to sit down and talk to the workers, she said.

“We blocked National Road 4 for half an hour and as a result, the director of the garment factory agreed to negotiate with our union representatives,” Ms. Van­ny said.

The workers’ demands include a 1,000 riel (about $0.25) bonus for every overtime hour worked, $8 a month as a transportation allow­ance,­ and that women who have newborn babies should receive $25 for milk for up to 20 months, Ms. Vanny said.

“We are also asking for 4,000 riel [about $1] for lunch everyday, especially if we work on a national holiday,” Ms. Vanny said.

After an hourlong meeting with the factory director, no consensus was reached, Ms. Vanny said.

“[The factory director] could not agree with our demands so we will continuing to go on strike in front of the factory for our demands,” Ms. Vanny said, adding that the workers will take a break from protesting today as it is the Visak Bochea holiday, but will renew their efforts Saturday.

Sabrina has previously come under media scrutiny for repeated incidents of mass faintings. In 2012, the Free Trade Union recorded that Sabrina had four separate incidents of faintings, affecting 340 workers.

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