A subtle form of protest? A mysterious ailment? Workers keep spontaneously fainting en masse at Cambodian clothing factories (where, if you were wondering, they are paid 30 cents an hour to sew clothing for global brands). The Phnom Penh Post reports:
Another mass fainting incident struck a garment factory yesterday, this time in the provincial capital of Kampong Chhnang where more than 100 workers at M&V factory collapsed, company and union representatives said yesterday. Staff began falling to the factory floor at about 9:00am. A factory supplying sportswear giant Puma was hit by fainting twice this year: at the end of last month and in April.
“We don’t know why they fainted.” Company representative Un Chhan Teak said there was no connection between the mass fainting and working conditions, and that the fainting was a result of shock. After one or two women collapsed, the others panicked and followed suit, he explained.
Union leaders have said garment workers are cutting back on food and working longer hours to make ends meet. Garment workers earn US$61 a month for 48 hours a week of work at factories that have licences to export.
Kampong Chhnang Provincial Hospital director Sou Rin Ravuthy said doctors believed the women fainted from a variety of factors: fatigue, insufficient food and shock from seeing colleagues drop unconscious.