Workers at M&V International Manufacturing – the garment factory that supplies fashion brand H&M and hit the headlines in August following a series of mass faintings – have embarked on strike action.
The protest by more than 4,000 workers started last Thursday (6 October) and continues today after the company and the Free Trade Union (FTU) failed to reach an agreement during talks at the weekend.
The strikers are calling for the reinstatement of 20 employees who were sacked last month for trying to establish a branch of the union at the factory. According to the FTU, the 20 workers were dismissed illegally because they had fixed-term contracts after working at the factory for more than two years.
However, representatives from M&V International claim the fired workers were on short-term contracts which can be terminated.
Union membership is said to have soared after a spate of group faintings in Cambodian garment factories this year.
In September, the International Labour Organisation’s Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) programme met with international clothing brands to set up an investigation into the phenomenon.
Out of about 300 exporting garment factories in Cambodia, there have been about 10 reported incidents of fainting in 2011 so far.