Garment workers defy court

21 September 2010

ABOUT 10,000 garment employees in Kandal province have flouted a court-ordered deadline to return to work.

They instead opted to continue protesting against the suspension of more than 50 union representatives who participated in a large-scale work stoppage last week, a union leader said.

A coalition of rights groups condemned the suspensions, many of which were approved by the Kandal provincial court.

In a joint statement, the groups – including Licadho, the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights and the local branch of the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity – said at least 70 unionists had been suspended in Kandal, along with 22 others in Kampong Speu province.

The statement described the suspensions as “undisguised retributions” for participating in the strike, and said they were in violation of an article in the Labour Law that prohibited discrimination against union members.

Industry representatives have justified the suspensions by saying last week’s strike was illegal.

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