Six garment factory workers will appear in Phnom Penh court this week, accused of inciting an illegal strike at a factory in February.
If charged and found guilty, they will face a one-year prison term, following a complaint by Quick Sew, a Phnom Penh factory, which said the leaders led a short protest on Feb. 28 that was illegal and cost tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
The Free Trade Union of Workers in the Kingdom of Cambodia said the court cases amounted to pressure on workers who assert their rights.
Union officials said the factory failed to pay bonuses to workers after a national holiday and had forced some employees to work overtime. The factory had also threatened to fire representative Chea Lay I over the grievances.
Chea Lay I said Wednesday he was questioned by Phnom Penh Municipal Court, where officials claimed the Feb. 28 strike had cost the factory $50,000.
Another worker questioned Wednesday, Mith Saborn, said he had seen the court complaint, in which the company requests $250,000 in compensation for the strike.
Court officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday. A company official confirmed Quick Sew had filed a complaint, but he declined to elaborate.
Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union, said such lawsuits are an ongoing concern, as they were being used “to silence workers.”