Cambodian garment workers block traffic over pay

Posted - Dec. 27, 2013 at 4:15 a.m.



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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - Striking workers making shoes and clothes in Cambodia for Western brands blocked roads and briefly scuffled with police on Friday.

The workers are demanding a two-fold increase in the minimum wage to $160.

The protesters snarled traffic in and around the capital, Phnom Penh, and blocked the entrance to the Labor Ministry.

Human rights activist Om Sam Ath said protesters blocking a highway leading to Sihanoukville threw stones at police, who fired into the air.

He said four workers were injured, but it was unclear how serious the injuries were.

Most of the country's 500 factories have been closed since Thursday, when the manufacturers association urged its members to cease operations, citing the fear of violence.

The garment industry employs more than 500,000 people and is Cambodia's biggest export earner.

Companies like the country because of its low wages, but there are frequent strikes over pay and conditions.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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