Walmart, H&M Pay Cambodian Workers $200,000 In Historic Settlement

Walmart worker, CambodiaWhen tales emerge from the retail supply chain, they're usually tragic, like the alleged sweatshop conditions at the Foxconn plants that churn out Apple products, or the 112 Bangladeshi workers who died when their factory, where clothes for Walmart, Sears Holdings and Disney were made, burned to the ground.

But workers at one factory in the developing world appear, at least, to have a happy ending. For two months, around 200 garment workers have been keeping vigil, day and night, outside their former factory in the Cambodian capital, which made clothes for Walmart and H&M. The workers claimed that for four months their wages were inexplicably cut, before the owner closed the factory altogether -- with no notice, or severance. But their strike has ended in success, reports the advocacy group Warehouse Workers United. The Kingsland factory workers won over $200,000 in back pay. The workers, who are mostly female, began their campaign on Jan. 3, sleeping outside the factory in Phnom Penh in order to hold the machinery inside hostage. They feared that once it was taken, the owner would have no reason to return and pay them the wages they were owed.

More: Walmart Workers Claim Victory In Little-Heralded Announcement

"We want to tell Walmart that we are struggling and sleeping in the heat and rain," Sorn Sothy, 26, who had worked in the factory for five years, said in a video broadcast by Voice of Democracy Radio. Tearing up, she continued: "We are scared at night. We dare not to sleep. We are concerned."

In February, the workers expanded their tactics, marching to the H&M office, and passing on a letter to the global brand's CEO, Karl-Johan Persson, reported CleanClothes.org.

The workers found allies around the world, including in the U.S. "We are all in the same fight, whether in Cambodia, Bangladesh, America, Mexico, or anywhere else," Mike Compton, an Illinois Walmart warehouse worker, told LaborNotes. Compton and other workers at his warehouse won improvements in their own strike last fall.

According to LaborNotes, dozens of the workers intensified their campaign with a hunger strike on Feb. 27. Just a couple days later, representatives of the brands, the suppliers, and the workers sat down together -- the first time such a meeting has occurred in Cambodia, reported CleanClothes.org. They reached a historic settlement of $205,000, to be distributed within two weeks.





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ellieshay88

It is so sad to see the corruption or United States corporations take advantage of other countries like this. it really does embarrass me as a US citizen. So insanely greedy.
Needless to say until i hear them righting this wrong i will not be shopping at either company.

May 22 2013 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
joeyc1981

Seriously? Over 200 workers received less than $1000 each for 4 months of back pay? That's less than $8.62 per day. And if you haven't seen the hours and conditions they work under, watch the documentary "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Cost". These companies make so much money... do you really think $200,000 is anything at all? It's a joke!

May 22 2013 at 12:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bobogoldschmidt

Sure they can pay these workers a settlement, but not the American workers. Most likely we are in the wrong country and not the right lawyers. Guess their lawyers could not be bought off and Wal-Mart felt sorry for these workers unlike American workers.

March 17 2013 at 7:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LINDA

Walmart? I do not comment on companies not of the United States Of America.

March 17 2013 at 3:21 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
petpetdon

Do you know how many grass huts these people can buy with 200 grand?

March 16 2013 at 11:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
itooso

$200,000 to Walmart is nothing, they could flush it down the toilet without a worry in the world.

March 16 2013 at 10:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RICHARD SR,

how much did the 112 Dead People get

March 16 2013 at 9:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RICHARD SR,

THAT IS ONLY A $1000, PER EMPLOYEE...
.for a three month strike for back wages

LUCKY THEY WERE NOT MOWED DOWN

March 16 2013 at 9:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
seedykay

Did a lot of you not read the story. Walmart did NOT own this sweat shop. They purchased from the owner of the sweat shop. Yet they went and paid the people their back wages after the OWNER closed the place and left. They didn't have to do that. If they closed Walmart there would be another store to take its place doing the same thing. As matter of fact there are some in existance now. I for one won't spend a nickel on any Apple product. They pay next to nothing to make them and charge you an arm and leg to purchase them. Not me.

March 16 2013 at 8:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lvh44leo

If Sam Walton saw the mess WAL Mart has made he would fire all top Management .

March 16 2013 at 7:57 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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