23 November 2014
On 14 October 2014, in front of the National Assembly building, Labor and Vocational Training Minister Ith Sam Heng promised workers from Huy Chean factory that they would not lose their severance pays (please watch the video below). However, as of today, more than 1,000 workers from that factory have yet to receive their legally due severance pays and, moreover, they are facing layoff.
The Taiwanese-owned Huy Chean company manages a factory located in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov southern district that produces shoes for German distributor Puma. Three months ago, the company changed its name to Chean Luck, pretending that its predecessor Huy Chean has gone bankrupt. In fact, it’s the same company, with the same owner doing the same business. The company owner resorts to such a trick to avoid paying taxes because there is a five-year tax exemption for any new company and Huy Chean has been operating for more than five years already. In order to enjoy another five-year period of tax exemption, the company owner must pretend that a new company named Yin Luck has been established in lieu and place of the old company named Huy Chean.
With the fake bankruptcy and the fraudulent name change the company owner can fire workers and/or deny any seniority rights (including severance pays) to those workers from the “old” company who would not be recruited by the “new” company.
The Huy Chean case is not an isolated one. Many similar cases have been buried by the authorities because shady factory owners have bribed corrupt government officials to turn a blind eye to such abuses, which continue to happen behind a thin façade of “democracy and rule of law.”
« Information is knowledge. Knowledge is power. Power must be exerted to help the people, not to oppress and exploit the people as is the case now with Cambodia’s corrupt government. »