Kingsland case - Cambodia
The situation started with repeated suspensions of operations by factory management. Workers were only paid 50% of the wages for the entire period of suspended operations. One day in December 2012 the workers returned to the factory to find it permanently closed and the managers gone.
No suspension of operations or closure was registered with the Ministry of Labour. The suspension and closure were therefore illegal, and all workers were entitled to full payment in accordance with Cambodian law.
On 3 January 2013 around 200 workers began a 24-hour factory vigil to ensure that equipment was not removed and assets stripped. The Ministry of Labour called for conciliation between the parties on 16 January 2013. The employer did not attend. As a response, the vigil continued.
“I am six months pregnant. It was difficult to work while I’m pregnant but even though it’s hard I need to struggle. I don’t know what to do. I can’t survive with the salary cut. I will protest like this until there is a solution. I want the factory and Walmart to rush to give us our severance pay.”
Heoun Rapi, Kingsland worker for 8 years
What did we do?
In an attempt to draw the attention of the buyer H&M, workers protested in front of the H&M building in Phnom Penh and at the Swedish embassy. The workers demanded that H&M ensured payment from Kingsland’s owner or from the brands that sourced from the factory; H&M and Walmart.
The international labour rights community, including Clean Clothes Campaign, issued a statement -signed by 17 organisations from across Asia, Europe and the US - in support of Kingsland workers. It called on Walmart and H&M to ensure that Kingsland owners pay all wages and indemnity and comply fully with Cambodian Labor Law.
More letters, negotiations and social media campaigns followed.
After months of struggle, with widespread support from the international solidarity network, 24/7 protests in front of the factory and even a hunger strike, the nearly 200 Kingsland employees won a historic settlement of over US $200,000 from H&M and Walmart in March 2013.
Overview of news on this campaign
Results: 3 Items
March 3, 2013
Workers from the Kingsland factory in Cambodia have won an historic settlement after months of protest over unpaid wages.
February 8, 2013
One month after garment workers from the closed Kingsland factory started a vigil they are still out on the streets. Today they called at H&M and the Swedish Embassy in Cambodia.
January 21, 2013
Workers at a Cambodian underwear factory supplying H&M and Walmart are keeping a 24-hour vigil outside their factory after managers shut up shop and fled, owing hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and benefits. Workers from Kingsland Garment are maintaining a camp in front of the factory in hopes of catching managers if they return to take machinery and equipment out of the factory.