More than 100 workers at a South Korean garment factory with a history of labor problems staged a one-day strike Monday, claiming they had been punished for taking time off to register for the elections.
The strike ended after opposition politician and union adviser Sam Rainsy went to Sam-Han garment factory and intervened.
Chea Sotheara, a worker representative, said Monday afternoon that about 100 factory employees took off Sunday morning and went to register to vote for the upcoming election.
When they reported for work Monday morning at Sam-Han, he said, they learned they had been transferred from their sewing jobs to the knitting department. The latter jobs are more difficult and pay a lower salary.
The strike was resolved later Monday following a visit by Sam Rainsy to the factory. According to a statement from labor leader Ou Mary, Sam-Han officials met with Sam Rainsy for more than an hour and agreed to slowly implement the labor law.
A company representative denied Monday the workers had been moved as a punishment but said management had decided to give back their old jobs. The factory, which has about 3,000 em-ployees, operated normally Monday, he said.
Following the negotiations, the striking workers were loaded into a truck and accompanied Sam Rainsy to the South Korean Embassy, where he spoke briefly with diplomats, who said they would urge Sam-Han to immediately implement the law, according to the Ou Mary statement.
The strike follows a request by labor leaders that the National Election Committee put registration centers on factory sites because workers were having problems getting time off to register. The NEC said it would keep registration centers open later in the evening to accommodate them.
Sam-Han saw a series of strikes shortly before the July 5-6 clashes. Workers claimed they were forced to work Sundays, holidays and overtime hours without extra pay and alleged they had suffered physical abuse. (Additional reporting by Debra Boyce)
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