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Conditions ‘Not Good’ in 2007, Unions Report

The lives of workers in Cambodia’s factories have improved little, despite the country’s improved economic performance, union leaders said Friday.

Workers are subject to abuse and dismissal by management, while their wages remain low. Meanwhile, strikes and demonstrations are often broken with force.

A report by the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers Democratic Union said 104 workers, including union representatives, had been fired in seven factories in 2007.

Forty-two workers from a single factory were laid off in August alone, the union said.

“What we have seen is not that good in 2007. Related to the job, I think we have quite a lot of problems,” said Sam Sreymom, vice president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union. “The price of goods keeps soaring. The rent is also going up, so the income is not enough.”

Om Mean, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Labor, said factories are “not perfect, ...but if we can have more positive [steps], then it is good.”