Nike factory protesters clash with Cambodian police

Featured South East Asia - May 28th, 2013

At least 23 workers were hurt in a violent clash with riot police after a strike over pay at a garment factory in Cambodia, authorities said.

Police used stun batons to disperse nearly 3,000 female workers who had blocked the road outside a factory owned by Sabrina (Cambodia) Garment Manufacturing in Kampong Speu province.

At least 23 workers were injured in the ensuing scuffle, including a pregnant woman who lost her child after military police shoved her to the ground, reports Reuters.

Sun Vanny, president of the Free Trade Union at Sabrina, said the workers at the factory had been staging strikes and protests since May 21 to demand $14 a month to help pay for transport, rent and healthcare costs.

The factory west of the capital Phnom Penh employs more than 5,000 people for a minimum wage of $74 and manufactures clothing for US sportswear brand Nike.

Garments accounted for 75% of Cambodia’s total exports of $5.22 billion in 2011, reports the Financial Times. The country’s low-cost labour has attracted global manufacturers of clothes and shoes but strikes over pay and working conditions have become commonplace.