Garment workers sit beside police officers during a protest in front of a factory owned by Sabrina (Cambodia) Garment Manufacturing in Kampong Speu province, west of Phnom Penh. (File photo)
Thousands of garment workers in Cambodia have hold a demonstration after a factory supplying global brands allegedly dismissed hundreds of their colleagues for striking over conditions.
According to union leaders, the Singapore-owned SL Garment Processing factory sacked more than 700 workers on Wednesday. Over 5,000 others were also suspended after a two-week-long strike.
They had walked out claiming intimidation over regular factory inspections conducted by an official flanked by military police.
On Thursday, nearly 4,000 workers marched from the factory to the City Hall in the capital Phnom Penh to call on the government to intervene in the dispute.
“We want the factory to allow the workers to go back to work,” said Ath Thorn, who is president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union.“But if they want to close they factory they must pay compensation to workers according to the law,” he added.
Cambodia frequently faces disputes over wages, safety and conditions in its multibillion-dollar garment industry.
About 650,000 people are working in the lucrative industry, which is a main source of foreign income for the Southeast Asian country.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) in July accused Cambodia of failing to improve working conditions in the sector.
In May, two workers were killed at a factory producing shoes for Japanese sports brand Asics after a ceiling collapse. The fatal incident led to intensification of concerns over worker safety in Cambodia.