Most of the workers in two special economic zones in Bavet City of Cambodia's Svay Rieng province returned to work on Monday, ending a strike in which they failed to lobby employers to pay them a 50-U.S. dollar bonus. "Nearly all of them go back to work today," Has Bunthy, director of the provincial labor department, told Xinhua Monday.
Bavet City houses about 40 garment, footwear and bike factories with more than 40,000 workers.
Kat Lot, vice president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, confirmed that only one factory still went on strike Monday. "Most workers returned to work after they failed to coax employers into paying them a 50 U.S.-dollar bonus,"he said.
Thousands of workers in over 30 factories in the two special economic zones -- the Manhattan and Tai Seng -- in Bavet City had staged strikes since April 19 after Khmer New Year when they learned that two factories had given workers a 50-U.S. dollar bonus for not joining a post-New Year strike, which was organized by the opposition-aligned trade unions.
The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said on April 25 that the factories would not pay the wages and fringe benefits to workers during their strikes.
The garment and footwear industry, the kingdom's largest foreign exchange earner, comprises 960 factories with about 630, 000 workers. The sector earned 5.5 billion U.S. dollars in revenues last year.
Wage dispute in the sector remains hot since pro-opposition trade unions, which represent about 19 percent of the total workers, still demand the government and GMAC to raise the monthly minimum wages to 160 U.S. dollars from the current 100 U.S. dollars.