Cambodian garment workers killed by police
Five garment workers were killed and at least 20 injured in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, when police opened fire on striking workers last week.
The sportswear company Puma told the International Business Times (IBT) that one of the victims had worked for one of its contractors.
The company's head of communications told the IBT: "We are one of many brands that sources products from this supplier. We will, for sure, together with the other brands, follow up with the factory to assure that support is given to the family of the victim."
The garment workers were said to be striking to demand an increase in the minimum wage to $160 dollars a month - double the current rate and significantly more than the government's offer of $100 per month.
Jeffery Hermanson, of North American union Workers United, claimed that low wages for workers in Cambodia resulted in overcrowded housing, with five or six people in one room and inadequate cooking and sanitary facilities.
Hermanson also described unhealthy conditions in the factories: "Food provided in some of the factories is of poor quality and there is no potable drinking water in many. Ventilation is inadequate and chemicals are used without informing the workers of the dangers. Mass fainting incidents have been frequent, with medical investigators blaming malnourishment and lack of sleep because of long hours and inadequate wages."
Puma was reported to be one of eight companies that had written to the Cambodian Prime Minister opposing the violence and urging for good-faith negotiations, “allowing workers to safely return to work without fear of repercussions as soon as possible”.
Nike was reported to purchase products from factories in Cambodia but had not signed the letter. According to the IBT nobody at Nike was available for comment.
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