Improving Her Work and Life

Ms Ratheany explains her colleagues about wage calculation based on number of hours and shifts at the factory. Photo: Oxfam

Loyalty to the company for over 22 years isn't protecting Ms Rain Ratheany from a management searching for reasons to make her redundant now that she is a workers activist for the Cambodian Food and Service Worker’s Federation (CFSWF).

Just one way management is making it difficult for Ms Ratheany and fellow activists to work to an employable standard is by moving them from the sections they have worked in for years at the Cambodian beer factory, Angkor Brewery, to new areas where it is easy to make mistakes and difficult to continue advocating for their rights.
Ms Ratheany said her work is under scrutiny and any mistake could lead to her being fired.

In Preah Sihanouk Province CFSWF is working to promote workers’ rights, human rights, gender equality and freedom of expression for employees of the Angkor Brewery factory.
The headquarters, which double as Ms Ratheany’s apartment, are home to regular employee gatherings where discussion focuses on way to improve the worker's rights, wages, working conditions and quality of life.

She explains that workers were sometimes unaware that they had been taken advantage of by the company, but that training sessions led by the CSFWF encouraged workers to learn how their wage was calculated.

Ms Ratheany said understanding wage calculations, based on the number of hours worked and shifts at the factory, is vital to understand how much over-time pay they should receive and if their working hours had been exploited by the employer.

The meetings have previously covered which management team is responsible for certain departments at work so that employees know who to advise when issues occur. A map of the factory layout hangs in the apartment to provide a visual image of where each department resides and their responsibilities so that workers can easily identify which department to contact if problems arise.

Ms Ratheany and her previous husband both work in the factory to support their three children, one of whom still lives with her mother, but Ms Ratheany said work is not as reliable now she has been reassigned from administrative tasks and reception work, where she has many years of experience, to cleaning.

Since establishing the beer workers' branch of the union, the CFSWF have positively negotiated with factory management to increase the basic salary to US$30 per year and have increased benefits such as work insurance and meals to be provided for overtime shifts.

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