After Truck Incident, Factory Ordered to Stop Moving Equipment

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday issued an injunction against a South Korean-owned garment factory temporarily banning it from removing any of its equipment after a truck transporting sewing machines plowed through protesting workers last month.

Hundreds of workers at the S.H. International garment factory in Pur Senchey district have been on strike since May 28 after the South Korean manager abandoned the factory. Staff have not been paid for the month of May.

On June 25, a truck moving sewing machines out of the factory plowed through protesting workers, injuring four women who were demanding their unpaid wages and severance packages.

Hours after the crash, the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit (KUFWS), which represents the workers, cooperated with a lawyer from the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS) to file a complaint with the court seeking an injunction to stop the factory from moving equipment until the workers’ dues are paid.

“[The court] decides to temporarily impound [the equipment] by not allowing [the factory] to sell, transfer, transport, rent, pawn or donate all movable property and immovable property of S.H.international Co. Ltd….pending the court’s final decision,” Judge Svay Tonh wrote in his decision, which was obtained Wednesday.

Heng Bon, the ACILS lawyer, said the injunction would force the factory to pay workers whose contracts have been terminated.

Se Kuthkola, a lawyer for the factory, said she plans to counter the motion put forth by the union.

“This injunction will seriously affect investors,” she said. “It also bans the factory production line…. Who will be responsible if the company loses millions of dollars?”

Ms. Kuthkola said that only about 20 workers are yet to receive their May salaries, claiming that they have chosen not to collect them. She added that none of the protesting workers has received severance because they are not entitled to it, as their contracts had already expired.

But Sum Sothea, second vice president of KUFWS, said 129 workers out of about 400 who were fired have yet to receive their May salaries and none of the 400 has received the severance pay to which they are entitled.

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