As many as 3,500 workers continued to protest outside a Cambodian factory on Wednesday, undaunted by violent police interference earlier in the week. On Monday, 23 people were injured, many of them women who were blocking a road outside of the factory, by police using stun batons and riot gear.
The factory, which makes clothing for Nike, is owned by Sabrina Cambodia Garment Manufacturing, based in nearby Kampong Speu province. The striking workers are demanding higher wages, but Hong Luy, chief of administration for Sabrina Cambodia, told Reuters that the workers make up to $102 a month, and that the company can’t afford to pay them more.
Workers began their strike on May 21st, and will “continue the strike to demand what they want,” according to Sun Vanny, president of the Free Trade Union (FTU) at Sabrina. He added, referring to Monday’s incident,”We want to know why violence was used against the woman and workers, we want to know who hired these officers to come.”
Military spokesman Kheng Tito has denied that the police were violent on Monday, and said that workers threw stones at police officers.
In an email to Reuters, a U.S. spokeswoman from Nike expressed Nike’s “concern” over the allegations of police violence, pointing out that Nike manufacturers are contractually obligated to respect employee rights to unionize. She said that Nike was investigating the allegations.