Coronavirus Causes Slowdowns and Shutdowns in Cambodian Factories

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Re: Coronavirus Causes Slowdowns and Shutdowns in Cambodian Factories

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Cambodian garment factory workers demand rights after coronavirus closures
By Andrea Nierhoff
Posted Yesterday at 9:06pm, updated 15 hours ago


Ung Chanthoeun has spent the past 17 years on a hot factory floor in Cambodia, sewing, ironing, and painstakingly checking the labels on clothes for big brands worldwide.

But with the pandemic leading to a worldwide downturn in production demand, the factory, Violet Apparel, announced it was closing its doors on July 1 — with one day's notice.

"When I heard that Violet closed, I felt like I lost everything I ever thought possible," Ms Chanthoeun told the ABC.

"I always thought that I would have enough money for my child to study to a high level and that I would receive a pension when I was old.

Now, Ms Chanthoeun has swapped her sewing machine for a megaphone, taking to Phnom Penh's sweltering streets.

The union leader and workers' representative is just one of more than a thousand workers fighting for money they're owed.

Under Cambodian law, employers are required to give workers a dismissal notice proportionate to how long they were employed.

An employee working for more than 10 years on a permanent contract, like Ms Chanthoeun, should be given at least three months' notice, and if they aren't, they're entitled to three months' salary.

According to union activists, Violet initially agreed to pay in full, but then reneged, saying it would only give compensation for this period to those employed on permanent contracts.

This means that many of those who had worked at Violet for years on successive short-term contracts would only get a fraction of what they were owed.

The ABC contacted Violet and its parent company Ramatex, but they did not respond by deadline.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-16/ ... n=business
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Re: Coronavirus Causes Slowdowns and Shutdowns in Cambodian Factories

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Over 110 garment factories close
Mom Kunthear | Publication date 22 November 2020 | 22:37 ICT
A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary of state Ngoy Rith said as of early September, 111 factories had closed in the garment, footwear and travel product sectors. He added the number of closures was similar to the first nine months of last year, when 110 factories closed.

“These closures have left 55,174 workers jobless. This job loss increased somewhat from the same period last year, which saw 53,226 workers laid off,” he said.

Rith said the government had been effective in introducing measures to keep factories open in one of the most important sectors of the Cambodian economy. He added that the global market for garment products had been virtually shut down by the Covid-19 pandemic and other factors.

He said the number of suspended employment contracts was gradually subsiding, noting that the number of garment factories that had frozen work contracts had decreased to 52, which affected the incomes of roughly 14,000 workers.

But Fa Saly, president of the National Trade Union Confederation, told The Post on November 22 that the actual numbers might be higher than the figures released by the labour ministry and that more Cambodian workers were losing their jobs and incomes each day.

“It is really hard to assess these losses. Workers are still struggling to make a living and certain workers have migrated abroad. But there are still a lot of workers who have no jobs – it is worrisome,” he said.
https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/ ... ries-close
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Re: Coronavirus Causes Slowdowns and Shutdowns in Cambodian Factories

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Will Cambodia's garment sector rebound after 'horror year'?
By Matt Blomberg, and Mech Dara
6 Min Read

KANDAL PROVINCE, Cambodia (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Lon Vanna has been working around the clock for months but she doesn’t sew clothes anymore - she guards the machines in the abandoned garment factory in Cambodia where she once worked.

Vanna believes the sewing machines are her only hope for saving her home and land, which she put up as collateral for a loan to feed herself and her ailing parents after the new coronavirus pandemic shuttered the factory in March.

“Those machines are my money; they are my life,” Vanna said, pledging to hold them hostage until she receives about $2,000 in wages and bonuses owed since bosses shut the factory, some 50km south of the capital, Phnom Penh, unannounced.

“We only know how to sew clothes,” she said, sat among half a dozen former workers who guard the factory around the clock, and in August chased away men sent by the factory owners to retrieve the machines.

“But we see no hope in the industry, only shut downs and sackings, so we can’t give up.”

Cambodia’s $7 billion garment sector - the country’s largest employer with 800,000, mostly female, workers - was dealt a double blow this year by the coronavirus pandemic and by European Union (EU) tariffs imposed over human rights abuses.

Some Cambodian exports lost duty-free access to the EU in August as the bloc signalled its discontent over the Southeast Asian country’s crackdown on opposition, civil society and the media.

Hard-won labour rights have also been rolled back this year in the garment industry, workers’ advocates say, as the virus has fuelled ‘union-busting’ at factories and poorer wages and conditions for those still in a job.

Cambodia has rolled out some assistance for laid off garment workers, but workers and advocates say it has been insufficient and difficult to access.

Labour ministry spokesman Heng Suor told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the process of applying for financial support was “not hard at all ... as long as the factory files for suspension properly”.
HORROR YEAR

Across the developing world, millions of workers in garment supply chains were laid off and left unpaid in 2020 as the pandemic pummeled the international fashion industry.

Cambodian workers are owed more than $120 million in unpaid wages for the first three months of the pandemic alone, according to advocacy group Labour Behind the Label, describing it as a “mounting humanitarian crisis.”
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-camb ... SKBN28S007
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Re: Coronavirus Causes Slowdowns and Shutdowns in Cambodian Factories

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Summary of 2020:
2020: Factory closures & export losses in Southeast Asia
23 Dec, 2020
Similar pandemic-induced problems of supply chain disruptions, factory closures and export losses were observed in all the five major textile-garment producing nations in the Southeast Asian region, viz. Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines. The year also saw signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

For the textile-garment industry in Cambodia, the biggest development of the year was the February 12 decision by the European Commission to partially suspend the ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) trade benefit for the country over human rights concerns, writes assistant editor Dipesh Satapathy in the January 2021 edition of Fibre2Fashion as he looks back at the year that was. The EBA withdrawal became effective on August 12.
More here: https://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/appa ... fashion%29
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Re: Coronavirus Causes Slowdowns and Shutdowns in Cambodian Factories

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What I read of the above article was interesting, but I don't like it when you reach the part where it says if you would like to read the rest, please subscribe. I leaves you in a situation of OH the climax may have been good if I had made it too the end.
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Re: Coronavirus Causes Slowdowns and Shutdowns in Cambodian Factories

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I admit first of all that before writing this I have not read the articles which may give me the answer to the question of who owns the factories. Is it the Chinese and having said that it's not always Chinese as I know several Asian nations have factories but I'm sure the majority would or are Chinese owned. And apart from not returning calls or emails to the correspondents who wrote the articles will the government do anything about making the owners pay the workers or is that once again too much wishful thinking.
It just seems that is very similar to when we read on CEO about workers not being paid in casino's or on building sites etc that the Chinese (again not saying it is always a Chinese owned project but it does to seem to be a majority) promise to pay what they owe then skip back to China.
Why can't the government step in and confiscate the building(s) and the furniture, fittings and whatever else and sell it off to pay the workers what they are owed?
The situations are not going to get better and if anything they will become more the norm until everything returns to normal. Even then, with the EU withdrawing the favored tax exemption, factories will not re-open the same as before as the garments will not be as cost effective to produce.
It seems the BRI has come to Cambodia at a very steep price when it comes to the workers.
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Re: Coronavirus Causes Slowdowns and Shutdowns in Cambodian Factories

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Kahuna wrote:Why can't the government step in and confiscate the building(s) and the furniture, fittings and whatever else and sell it off to pay the workers what they are owed?
...
It seems the BRI has come to Cambodia at a very steep price when it comes to the workers.
BRI never came to Cambodia to exclusively benefit the workers. Plus why would the Cambodian government do something so drastic as to possibly anger the Chinese masters? Also if everything is torn down in the factory and sold, then another factory would have to start from scratch, making another costly investment.

What is going for Cambodia’s benefit is a cheap labor pool. Chinese companies establish factories in Cambodia to skirt the global anti-PRC rules. Because technically, it’s not a product of the People’s Republic of China. Only the fabric, machines, finishings, etc. As long as it’s sewn or assembled in Cambodia, it’s not Chinese.
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Re: Coronavirus Causes Slowdowns and Shutdowns in Cambodian Factories

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Kahuna wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 11:05 pm I admit first of all that before writing this I have not read the articles which may give me the answer to the question of who owns the factories. Is it the Chinese and having said that it's not always Chinese as I know several Asian nations have factories but I'm sure the majority would or are Chinese owned. And apart from not returning calls or emails to the correspondents who wrote the articles will the government do anything about making the owners pay the workers or is that once again too much wishful thinking.
It just seems that is very similar to when we read on CEO about workers not being paid in casino's or on building sites etc that the Chinese (again not saying it is always a Chinese owned project but it does to seem to be a majority) promise to pay what they owe then skip back to China.
Why can't the government step in and confiscate the building(s) and the furniture, fittings and whatever else and sell it off to pay the workers what they are owed?
The situations are not going to get better and if anything they will become more the norm until everything returns to normal. Even then, with the EU withdrawing the favored tax exemption, factories will not re-open the same as before as the garments will not be as cost effective to produce.
It seems the BRI has come to Cambodia at a very steep price when it comes to the workers.
Too be fair I would say covid-19 had the final blow on this, being a owner or manager of one of those factory's that ends up in a situation where it owes monies to it's workforce can't be a pleasant feeling for both parties ( if you are straight up and honest, wanting your business to work). Owing money to the Cambodian government my put you in a more tricky situation, and keeping the factory running on a loss, that could have easily come along.
I don't know what the situation would have been for an overseas investor, what benefits to them may have been on offer, I understand that a cheap workforce and EBA is a good outlook, but even so there's still a large investment to put down to start up, and in this case keep running. It would be interesting to see what nationalities were involved in this, also thinking if it was so good there would be a large amount of Cambodian run factory's. Also it would have been good news to see the government with the works and labour department, encouraging some Cambodians to possibly set up a co-opritive workforce.
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Re: Coronavirus Causes Slowdowns and Shutdowns in Cambodian Factories

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newkidontheblock wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 11:30 pm
Kahuna wrote:Why can't the government step in and confiscate the building(s) and the furniture, fittings and whatever else and sell it off to pay the workers what they are owed?
...
It seems the BRI has come to Cambodia at a very steep price when it comes to the workers.
BRI never came to Cambodia to exclusively benefit the workers. Plus why would the Cambodian government do something so drastic as to possibly anger the Chinese masters? Also if everything is torn down in the factory and sold, then another factory would have to start from scratch, making another costly investment.

What is going for Cambodia’s benefit is a cheap labor pool. Chinese companies establish factories in Cambodia to skirt the global anti-PRC rules. Because technically, it’s not a product of the People’s Republic of China. Only the fabric, machines, finishings, etc. As long as it’s sewn or assembled in Cambodia, it’s not Chinese.
Go back to school.

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Re: Coronavirus Causes Slowdowns and Shutdowns in Cambodian Factories

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Cambodia’s Government Issues Measures to Help Garment-Textile, Footwear, Travel Goods, Bag and Tourism Sectors
26/12/20 10:20
Phnom Penh (FN), Dec. 24 – The Royal Government of Cambodia has issued further measures to continue to help the garment-textile, footwear, travel goods, bag and tourism sectors during COVID19 crisis, according to the press release obtained by Fresh News on Thursday.

The measures detailed on the suspension of employment contracts, national social security fund (NSSF) and seniority indemnity payment.

The Royal Government continued to transfer USD 40 per month for January to March 2021 for each worker/employee working in the garment and tourism sectors, who suffered work suspension due to COVID19.

In addition, the implementation of pension scheme is being delayed for six months until July 2021.

The government also continued to allow factories, enterprises and businesses in all sectors to delay the payment of back pay seniority indemnity before 2019 and seniority indemnity for 2020 and 2021 until 2022, according to GMAC.

If the social and economic situation return to normal, all relevant ministries and institutions must hold discussions with factories, enterprises and businesses to determine procedures to make payments by installment.
=FRESH NEWS
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