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Unions Back Down on Planned Strike

Cambodian garment workers, right, are blocked by barbed wire set up by police near the Council of Ministers building during a rally in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013.
Fifteen of 18 labor unions on Wednesday backed out of a planned strike over wages and the continued detention of labor activists.

Union leaders said they wanted their members to be able to work and earn money ahead of Khmer New Year, in April, after which another strike could be held.

Ath Thun, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, said more details need to be discussed before another mass strike is held.

Garment workers are demanding a wage increase to $160 per month and the release of 21 activists jailed since violent demonstration crackdowns in January.

Only three unions, including the Cambodian Teachers’ Association, joined in strikes Wednesday. Rong Chhun, the head of the teachers union, said he did not want to prolong the time that detainees remain in jail.

No clashes with police took place Wednesday, and no injuries were reported.