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One dead and several injured in Cambodia clothes worker protests

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One dead and several injured in Cambodia clothes worker protests


A woman has been killed and several people injured in clashes between clothes factory workers and riot police in Cambodia.

The middle-aged woman was reportedly not among the demonstrators but was selling rice by the roadside in the capital Phnom Penh.

Security forces have been accused of using real bullets but this was denied by police spokesman Kheng Tito. He said water cannon and smoke bombs were used after protesters threw stones and set vehicles on fire.

Some demonstrators who were arrested were seen being beaten by police.

Amid a months-long struggle for better pay and conditions, hundreds of workers were blocked from marching on the prime minister’s house.

They can reportedly earn around 80 euros a month with overtime, working for the Singapore-owned group SL Garment Processing which supplies global brands such as Gap and H&M.

The industry accounts for most of Cambodia’s exports and the prime minister has warned that the protests may lead to firms relocating to other countries such as Myanmar, Laos and India where labour is cheaper.

In July a report by the International Labour Organisation accused Cambodia of failing to make progress over working conditions, safety and child labour.

In October, 13 major international buyers including Gap and H&M warned Cambodian garment manufacturers to make sure that plans to monitor labour standards were not impeded. The results of inspections are due to be disclosed publicly from next January.

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