Gov’t to cough up for work­ers’ un­paid wages

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Voun Dara

THE Labour Min­istry on Wed­nes­day told work­ers of the now-de­funct Lida Gar­ment fac­tory in Ph­nom Penh’s Meanchey dis­trict to come to the plant on Fri­day to re­ceive their un­paid wage.

The min­istry said: “All em­ploy­ees who have con­tracts, for ei­ther fixed or non-fixed term, shall be present at the fac­tory lo­ca­tion on Oc­to­ber 5 from 8:00am to 11:30am.”

The min­istry in­structed the work­ers to claim their wages per­son­ally by pre­sent­ing one of the fol­low­ing – their em­ploy­ment con­tract, fam­ily book, em­ployee ID or pay slip, in ad­di­tion to their Na­tional So­cial Se­cu­rity Fund card and na­tional ID or Pass­port.

Last month, 257 Lida Gar­ment’s work­ers held a rally at the com­pany’s plant, af­ter learn­ing that fac­tory owner, Zhou Gong Bing, had fled for un­known rea­sons. They have been left job­less and their wages have not been paid.

The gov­ern­ment has al­lo­cated more than $4 mil­lion in sev­er­ance to com­pen­sate them.

Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen or­dered the min­is­ter, Ith Sam Heng, to use a special bud­get for the pur­pose to com­pen­sate the work­ers, find them new jobs and cre­ate a mech­a­nism to pre­vent fac­tory own­ers from aban­don­ing their plants and flee­ing.

Ear­lier in March, the min­istry is­sued a state­ment that the gov­ern­ment will take strong ac­tion, in­clud­ing legally seiz­ing com­pany as­sets if fac­tory own­ers aban­don their busi­nesses with­out pay­ing all out­stand­ing wages ow­ing to their work­ers.

The state­ment reads: “If the fac­tory’s own­ers or rep­re­sen­ta­tives are present, they must pro­vide a so­lu­tion to the work­ers. If they ab­scond and/or don’t have money to com­pen­sate their work­ers or are un­able to find other so­lu­tions, the min­istry will fol­low the court’s pro­ce­dures,” the state­ment reads.

The min­istry said it will seize and sell the fac­tory’s as­sets and use the pro­ceeds to pay the work­ers.

In Fe­bru­ary, the gov­ern­ment dis­trib­uted $4.6 mil­lion to com­pen­sate work­ers from nine gar­ment fac­to­ries that had been shut­tered and whose bosses ab­sconded.

HENG CHIVOAN

Labour Min­istry of­fi­cials meet with work­ers’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives to dis­cuss un­paid wages on Septem­ber 10.

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