Shoe Factory Workers Strike for Seven Demands

About 1,000 workers from the Sun Well Shoes factory went on strike for the second day running Wednesday, appealing for wage benefits and better safety equipment.

Half of the striking workers protested in front of the factory on Veng Sreng Street in Pur Senchey district on Tuesday and again Wednesday morning after not receiving a response to a list of seven demands submitted to their employers on July 10.

The workers’ demands include​​ a $15 monthly accommodation and travel allowance, $5 per month for good attendance, guaranteed severance pay, better safety equipment and factory coverage of their tax payments.

Ou Ry, a 29-year-old worker, said the maximum base monthly salary of $105 was not enough to live on.

“We don’t want to protest. We don’t want to stand on the road under the sunlight. But the factory does not think of our livelihoods,” she said.

“We will continue protesting for our demands until they are met. We are not afraid of a crackdown because we need those benefits.”

Liu Chhiv Mey, the factory’s administrative director, said the company could not meet the workers’ requests.

“We cannot agree to follow their demands because we cannot provide more benefits than are set out in the Labor Law and the factory does not have the ability to do it,” she said.

“Other companies provide a maximum wage to the workers of only $100, but our factory provides a maximum wage to them of $105, so why do they need to demand more?”

Ms. Mey blamed the Workers Friendship Union Federation (WFUF) for inciting the workers to join the strike and said the union failed to give the factory notice about the industrial action.

Sieng Sambath, president of WFUF, denied inciting the workers to protest and said the union was supporting the workers’ demands.

“Before the workers started striking we had informed the authorities about our requests and announced them in the media, so why did the factory representative say they never knew?” he asked.

Both sides have agreed to enter into negotiations at the Ministry of Labor on Thursday.

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