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A standoff at First and Main

Sept. 27, 2012 at 3:25 PM   |   Comments

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- A closed teddy bear factory's co-owner and workers told different versions of a meeting at the Cambodian factory to which bosses reportedly did not show up.

Workers who returned to the closed First and Main cuddly toy plant on Sept. 10 for a meeting said the company's bosses were a no-show.

Workers also said they came and went peacefully.

But American co-owner Brad Holes said a member of the company's management team locked herself inside the building to hide from an angry mob of workers, who had returned to collect back wages, the Phnom Penh Post reported Thursday.

Management's version of the story includes angry workers wrecking equipment before they left.

Both sides agree that the workers are owed back wages, the newspaper said. In addition, the law in Cambodia says that once equipment is sold off workers are compensated ahead of creditors, said Dave Welsh a manager at the American Center for International Labor Solidarity.

Ke Sok Sidney, a member of the Ministry of Social Affairs' strike and demonstration resolution committee, said, "We will ask the security guard to pay for the loss of equipment."

Workers said that instead of bosses on the property, they found the gate locked with a sign that said the equipment would be auctioned off and, "The committee will pay the workers what they are owed once this property has been sold."

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