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Factory Ordered To Hire Back Union Leaders After Violent Protest

An injured Cambodian worker escapes from riot police in the compound of a Buddhist pagoda in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013. Cambodian police have fired live ammunition at protesting garment workers outside the capital, injuring at least six protesters and killing a bystander. The human rights group Licadho says hundreds of workers from the SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd. Factory clashed Tuesday with about 1,000 riot police sent to block a march from the factory to the Phnom Penh residence of Prime Minister Hun Sen. (AP Photo)
PHNOM PENH - The government has ordered the SL Garment factory to rehire 19 worker representatives, following a brutal crackdown on demonstrators outside the home of Prime Minister Hun Sen last week.

In a letter to the company, Khun Chinken, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Labor, said the representatives should be taken back and the factory must negotiate with workers over better conditions.

Failure to do so can lead to court prosecution, the letter said.

Workers have been in conflict with the factory since August. Last week, demonstrating workers gathered in front of Hun Sen’s home to deliver a petition, eventually trying to break through a police barricade and clashing with authorities.

A street vendor nearby was hit by a bullet in the chest and died later in the hospital. Police have so far denied responsibility for the shooting.