ASICS Compensates Killed Workers’ Families

Japanese sports brand ASICS has agreed to pay compensation to the families of victims who died in a factory collapse in May, a brand representative said.

ASICS Corporation managing executive officer Ron Pietersen, who arrived in Phnom Penh on Friday, said the company profoundly regretted the deaths.

“It’s money, it will never replace what people lost, but we think the amount is fair, reasonable and it should help them to make a next step,” Mr. Pietersen said.

He said the money would be paid in a lump sum but would not reveal the amount “to protect the families.”

Sim Srey Touch and Rim Saroeun, 22, were killed on May 16 when the mezzanine level of the Taiwanese-owned Wing Star Shoes Co. Ltd. in Kompong Speu province collapsed, crushing workers who were arriving at work in the morning.

According to the authorities, steel beams holding up the concrete flooring buckled under the weight of boxes of shoes due to shoddy construction done without a permit.

While authorities immediately promised prosecution for those responsible, no action has yet been taken against factory officials or the construction company.

While ASICS has asked nine of its supplier factories in Cambodia to have building inspections done by a third party, Mr. Pietersen said the government should also make sure there is compliance in the construction sector and that the National Social Security Fund (NSSF)—which provides a safety net to workers injured or killed on the job—properly assists grieving families.

“There cannot be any reason for the authorities to leave it all up to us, especially when it comes to construction. And also when it comes to taking care of the families, there is a role [for government to take],” he said. “[The NSSF] should take the responsibility and if they have an obligation toward the families, they should meet that obligation.”

Mr. Pietersen declined to reveal the construction company involved, saying that was also a matter for the government.

“If there is a construction company who is not acting according to normal circumstances and conditions, then I expect the authorities to take care of that,” he said.

Sim Srey Touch’s father, Korn Vet, confirmed the settlement with ASICS but declined to reveal the amount. “I still miss my daughter and I am very sad about her death,” he said. “This compensation [from ASICS] is reasonable but it could not compare to my daughter’s life.”

Rim Saroeun’s wife, Nuon Chorvy, the mother of a 2-month-old baby, said on top of the compensation offered by ASICS, the NSSF had promised to provide 70 percent of her late husband’s roughly $140 monthly salary every three months.

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