(© Creative Commons: Some Rights Reserved. Photo by yukikei)
284 workers collapsed this week at a garment factory in Kampong Chnnang, Cambodia producing knitwear for H&M.
◆ Sources ◆
"Factory workers were forced to work an extra four to six hours a day during the last two months, although they had been already forced to work until 23:00 from January to March. Fainting was commonplace as workers are always exposed to toxic fumes. Also before collapsing, workers smelled something bad from shirts."
～Trade union representative Norn Leakhena～
However, M&V International Manufacturing Ltd anonymously denied allegations of forced overtime and toxic working environment. They claimed that underlying cause was poor health of workers and this mass fainting was caused by "strange psychological phenomenon".
"In China, this kind of thing is unthinkable. They don't faint at once. Instead, one after another."
Moeun Tola from Community Legal Education Center sees that the low legal wage is the underlying problem.
"$61 a month for 48 hours of work per week is not enough. They have no choice but to work overtime. Without enough sleep or food, they are susceptible to fainting"
～Community Legal Education Center Labour programme Moeun Tola～
This factory was inspected by monitors from ILO (International Labour Organisation) earlier this month, and just released a report stating that garment factories were, for the most part, compliant with national laws and international labour standards. This factory will be inspected again.
This factory suspended operations until next week to allow its 4000 workers to rest.
Any plausible causes are not found so far.