Union representatives detained for distributing strike leaflets

Two union representatives said that they were detained and “educated” Thursday for distributing leaflets calling on workers to participate in a nationwide strike next month. Yin Saroeun, secretary-general of the National Trade Unions Coalition, said police detained him and his colleague, Chuob Noek, at about 11 a.m. after they distributed strike leaflets outside the Evergreen garment factory in Russei Keo district. They were taken to the Russei Keo commune police station and were only released after they had thumbprinted declarations swearing that they would not hand out any more leaflets. “We were threatened by them that if we did not follow their orders, they would take our belongings,” Mr. Saroeun said, adding that he and Mr. Noek were held for about an hour. “They had no right to arrest us since there is no law that states that distributing leaflets is illegal—we just distributed the leaflets to inform and make workers understand our demands,” he added. … On Thursday, 17 unions and associations co-signed a letter that was sent to the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, the Ministry of Labor, the Council of Ministers, the International Labor Organization, City Hall and buyers informing them about the planned strike on March 12 and their intention to hold a public forum on the minimum wage on March 8. “Employers get a lot of profit from this sector…. Therefore, we would like to inform you about our strike in order to push the government and employers to solve our seven demands,” the letter says. …

Mech Dara