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Cambodian union scores victory at SL Garment

20 November, 2014Cambodian garment union and IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, C.CAWDU, has won a key victory in settling a long-running dispute with clothing manufacturer SL Garment. 

In the settlement, signed between C.CAWDU union leaders and SL Garment on 17 November, the company agrees to drop all charges against union leaders and activists.

SL Garment will also pay US$ 300,000 to all current employees who took part in strikes against the company in 2013.

SL Garment will pay the money directly to the employees after checking the list of eligible staff with the trade union. Representatives from C.CAWDU and the Ministry of Labour will witness and observe the distribution of the money to employees.

SL Garment’s parent company, JD United, is an important supplier for US fashion brand GAP.

C.CAWDU President, Ath Thorn, who was one of the union leaders facing charges by SL Garment, said that pressure on GAP made the brand exert its influence over its supplier to achieve the settlement.  

SL Garment has also agreed that company shareholder, Meas Sotha, who hired military police that attacked workers during the 2013 strikes, will not be involved in the daily operations of the employer or the daily management of the factory.

The November 2014 agreement follows a settlement made between C.CAWDU and SL Garment in December 2013. In it, the company had promised to drop all charges against union leaders. However, it reneged on the deal just a few months later.

Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL’s general secretary, said:

“We congratulate C.CAWDU on this important victory which marks a big step in improving industrial relations between trade unions and garment manufacturers in Cambodia. The agreement clears the way for C.CAWDU and SL Garment to work together and build a more productive future at the company.