The 25 garment workers and labour activists were freed earlier this year. Photo credit: LICADHO

The 25 garment workers and labour activists were freed earlier this year. Photo credit: LICADHO

A long-running dispute at Cambodian clothing factory SL Garment, which resulted in the death of one person after violent clashes broke out between workers and armed forces, has been settled.

An agreement between union leaders at C.CAWDU and SL Garment management was signed on Monday (17 November), under which SL Garment has agreed to drop all charges against union leaders and activists. SL Garment will also pay US$300,000 to all current employees who took part in strikes over working conditions last year.

The garment manufacturer has also agreed that company shareholder, Meas Sotha, who hired military police to intervene the strikes, will not be involved in the daily operations at SL Garment or the management of the factory.

IndustriAll's general secretary Jyrki Raina described the move as an "important victory which marks a big step in improving industrial relations between trade unions and garment manufacturers in Cambodia".

"The agreement clears the way for C.CAWDU and SL Garment to work together and build a more productive future at the company," he added. 

The SL Garment strikes started last summer, when union leaders demanded the company meet nine conditions, including a monthly minimum salary of US$150, a $3 lunch allowance, and the removal of shareholder Sotha.

One bystander was later killed, and several garment workers and labour activists arrested during violent clashes, but were freed by a Cambodian court in May.