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Union Leader Calls for More Solidarity After Strikes

In the wake of last week's strikes, the leader of a federation of unions said workers need even greater unity to defend their interests.

Speaking as a guest on “Hello VOA” on Monday, Ath Thun, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers' Democratic Union, said workers need to “form one voice.”

“Doing so will give us a strong influence to demand a decent salary for the workers,” he said.

Worker unions will meet with factory managers next week to negotiate better income for workers, through bonuses or some other mechanism, to offset the increased cost of living.

Thousands of workers went on strike last week, saying they were unhappy with their monthly salaries of $61. The strikes ended after four days, when new negotiations were agreed on for Sept. 27.

Ath Thun said some unions have been secretly dealing with manufacturers, but that others were prepared to continue strikes if next week's talks don't produce results.

Meanwhile, some factories have sought the suspension of some union leaders, in what Ath Thun called a “serious violation.”

“We ended our peaceful strike, and there should not be any retaliation once they resume work,” he said.