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Factories Claim $15 Million in Damages After Strikes

The garment industry raised its loss estimates to $15 million on Wednesday in the wake of a general strike last week.

The $15 million was reported by at least 30 garment factories through the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, after thousands of workers went on strike in search of more pay.

GMAC Secretary-General Ken Loo told VOA Khmer on Wednesday the figure was based on lost production and damages factory property, costs for alternative logistics and freight, and for discounts on late deliveries.

In a statement, the group, which represents factory managers, said it would “support its members in the effort of finding justice and compensation for the loss.”

Ath Thun, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers' Democratic Union, said last week's strike was held legally and that losses were up to the companies. Workers would not compensate for the losses, he said.

The strikes ended after four days before further negotiations were settled on for Sept. 27.

Loo said Wednesday that GMAC had not prepared a topic for next week's talks, but its members would attend and “listen to the demands and requests of the trade union federation.

“We need to know what the union wants to raise for its members,” he said. “We'll take the next step.”

Ath Thun said the unions will not request a raise in the monthly salaries, but will instead seek an additional per diem for food, an increase in overtime rates and other bonuses to help offset the rising costs of living.