The fourth workers’ case was presented by Mr. Pheakdey, General Secretary at the trade union Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (CCAWDU).
Mr. Pheakdey said:
“They live four or five people in a room, where they wash, eat and sleep. Their living condition is in chaos. They suffer from diseases. If one person gets sick, the other 4 or 5 cannot get rest. Therefore the other workers need to look after their colleague. When they work they work ten or twelve hours and this is the story we hear about every day. The employers don’t understand about the difficulties of the workers. They just want them to work. Workers now have disease, for example typoid and heavy chough. The companies do not pay attention when they give the workers masks. When auditors and inspectors come, the workers are provided with the masks but one or two days after inspection, they stop distributing the mask. They can only get sick after working for the factory for 8-10 years and then they have to sell everything to afford treatment.”
“Workers dream workers could have enough to buy a small house near the factory, and have one or two children and a husband. But this dream dissolves like the wind because they have to take loan to survive.”
Because of the low wage and the lack of response in negotiations with the employers, the unions felt the need to use the last resort, to go on strike. The CLC and CNC called for a general strike in September 2010. In July 2010 CLC collected finger print of 60 000 workers to support the strike. Letters were sent to the Ministry of Labour and The Employers Association, GMAC. The strike lasted three days, from 13 September 2010 until 15 September 2010. On the last day 159 850 workers from 95 factories were on strike. A couple of weeks later, in October 2010, 145 union activists were sued by 17 factories and 692 workers were fired. Even up to this date there are still workers and union activists that have not been reinstated or compensated.
Read the full testimony here: Case #4 General Strike