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Cambodian Garment Workers Strike Over Unpaid Wages During Pandemic

Nearly 1,000 garment workers protested outside a Phnom Penh factory on March 25, 2020, after the owner failed to pay their regular wages, which the company said was due to declining payments from buyers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Factory workers employed by Canteran Apparel (Cambodia) Co. Ltd. protested after the company failed to pay their full wages for the most recent two-week pay period, worker Sann Sopha told VOD. The factory owner refused to sign an agreement promising to pay workers their outstanding wages at the beginning of next month, as workers had asked, Sopha said. Workers will continue their strike to force the company to respect the condition to pay workers regularly from today onward. Workers asked the company to make a written promise with them but the company did not dare to make a contract with us. The company just gave excuses for this and that.

Cambodia Exposes, Expels US Network

By Joseph Thomas for NEO - Corporations like BP, Chevron, Citigroup, Coca Cola, Exxon, defence contractor Honeywell and IT giant Microsoft are not interested in promoting democracy. They are using democracy promotion as a means behind which to create conditions more conducive to expanding markets and increasing profits. This includes undermining governments impeding foreign corporate control of national resources and markets, or entirely removing and replacing governments with more obedient client regimes. The contemporary history of American foreign wars and its practice of "regime change" and "nation building" provides self-evident confirmation of the motives and means used to expand US hegemony and clearly illustrates where organisations like NDI fit into the process. In Cambodia's case, a much larger, overarching agenda is in play than merely national resources and markets. US activities in Cambodia to coerce or replace the current government in Phnom Penh is done specifically to encircle and contain China through a united front of client states assembled by the United States across Southeast Asia.

Cambodia’s Garment Workers Aren’t Backing Down

Last January in Phnom Penh, the garment industry seemed to be coming apart at the seams: protesters thronged through the streets, several died after security forces opened fire and union leaders were detained for weeks without trial. A year on, the unrest has subsided and workers are getting a modest wage hike, but the systematic suppression of unions continues to breed bitter outrage. Last December, hundreds of workers rallied at the South Korean Embassy to demand justice at the Korean-owned Cambo Kotop factory, following the alleged illegal dismissal of union leaders who had planned a strike. They were opposing a court order to return to work.

Journalist Killed While Documenting Illegal Logging

Journalist Taing Tri, 48, of the local Vealntri newspaper in Kratie province, Cambodia, was shot dead around 1 a.m. on 12 October 2014 as he attempted to document the transportation of illegal luxury wood near Pum Ksem Kang Krow village. The Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) condemn this murder in the strongest terms possible and call on local authorities to take immediate action to investigate the case and bring the murderers to justice in order to end the cycle of impunity for those who perpetuate violence against journalists in Cambodia. “Mr. Tri's murder is tragic and cannot go unpunished,” said CCIM Executive Director Pa Nguon Teang. “We must bring an end to impunity for those who commit violence against journalists, and we must do it now, starting with Mr. Tri.”

Brands Pledge To Raise Cambodian Garment Workers’ Wages

Eight major clothing brands, including Swedish H&M and Spanish Inditex, which owns Zara, British New Look, and Irish Primark, have sent a letter to the Cambodian deputy prime minister saying they will pay more for goods sourced there in order to help raise pay for the country’s garment workers. “Workers in all production countries have the right to a fair living wage,” the letter states. “As responsible Business’ [sic] our purchasing practices will enable the payment of a fair living wage.” The letter also calls on the government to establish a monitoring and policing system to ensure workers actually get any higher minimum wage to “create a competitive advantage for the factories that comply with the new minimum wage” and the installation of a yearly collective bargaining process for the workers.

Cambodian Police Release Unionists After Workers Surround Office

Two union representatives were arrested and detained for several hours in Prey Veng province Wednesday as a nearly weeklong strike for better working conditions and bonuses continued at the Chinese-owned Komchay Mear Trading factory, police and unionists said. Sok Siem and Khhun Sokhom, both representatives of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU), were arrested at 6:40 a.m. as they led a protest in front of the factory, which managers said produces garments for the U.S. clothing giant Gap.

Exalted War Criminal Makes The Mass Media Rounds

The former national security adviser seems to be everywhere lately. He made an appearance at an event with other former secretaries of state, leading Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank (9/3/14) to call him "the most celebrated foreign-policy strategist of our time," and to note that of those gathered, "the wisest, as usual, was Kissinger." Of course, a clear vision of Kissinger would help too. The record is well-documented, from backing a coup in Chile ("We will not let Chile go down the drain") to supporting the dirty war in Argentina to Indonesia's bloody campaign in East Timor. Kissinger is most closely associated with the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia. Of the latter, he famously delivered this order: "A massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. Anything that flies on anything that moves." Credible estimates of the number of people killed as a result of this order range as high as 800,000.

Cambodia: Garment Workers Fight Gap, H&M And Others

As 2013 drew to a close, Cambodian garment factory workers began striking in Phnom Penh for a livable wage. Recently, the Ministry of Labor had approved a $95-a-month wage, and while this was more than the $80 a month workers had been living on, they held out for $160, which was the bottom end of a “living wage” for Cambodia, according to labor research. Another $5 a month was offered, but workers rejected it. By January 3, the non-violent strikes ended in a military crackdown and riots. Four garment workers were shot dead, another was shot in the chest and is missing, and more than 30 were injured. A ban on public assembly was put in place, and 23 labor leaders were arrested. International media coverage showed Cambodian youth clad in skinny jeans, covered in blood and running from the military. Lost in coverage of the social unrest were the women behind the movement.

Tell Cambodia To Stop Violence, Respect Workers’ Rights

Cambodian garment workers are in need of international solidarity.Their peaceful strike for a living wage has been met with violent state repression. Five workers have been killed and more than 30 are injured. They report living under martial law. Labor unions around the world are starting to organize protests in solidarity. Unions in South Korea will protest on Monday, Jan. 13 in solidarity. We must support a living wage for all workers and oppose state violence against peaceful demonstrators. Please sign the petition below to tell the Cambodian embassy to respect the workers and end the violence.

Cambodian Forces Open Fire Against Minimum Wage Protesters

Four people have reportedly been killed [later reports say five have died] after Cambodian military police opened fire with assault rifles today against stone-throwing garment factory workers demanding higher pay. Chaos during nationwide strikes erupted for a second day as security forces were deployed to halt a demonstration by thousands of workers, who refused to move and threw bottles, stones and petrol bombs at an industrial zone in Phnom Penh. Military police confronting the protesters fired live ammunition, said, and bullet casings were later seen scattered across the ground at the scene. The clashes took place at Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh, home to dozens of factories that make clothing for western brands that include Adidas, Puma and H&M Hennes & Mauritz. Human rights group LICADHO described the incident as “horrific” and lambasted military police, adding that their own investigation and surveys of hospitals had found four people were killed and 21 wounded.

Thousands Of Cambodians Rally, Demand PM Resign

Tens of thousands of Cambodian opposition supporters, backed by striking garment-factory workers, rallied on Sunday to demand long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen step down and call an election. The garment workers have in recent days joined the opposition protests to press their demand that the government raise the minimum wage to $160 a month from $95, as recommended on December 24. "Hun Sen and his illegal government can hear us, they can't ignore us, the people show their will for change," Sam Rainsy, leader of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, told the rally in a Phnom Penh park. "We demand that Hun Sen to steps down and a new election," Sam Rainsy, a formerfinance minister, told the crowd, some of whom have been camping out in the park since December 15.
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