FRANKFURT Feb 23 German sportwear maker
Puma sent officials to investigate working conditions
in Cambodia after a local woman working for one of its suppliers
was shot during a labour protest on Monday.
The woman, who was employed by Kaoway Sports, was shot
during a protest by employees of several factories calling for
better working conditions and increased pay.
Puma said it is paying for the medical costs of the woman,
who is receiving treatment at a hospital in the Cambodian
capital of Phnom Penh.
Puma said its safety directors in Asia were working with
non-governmental organisations, other brands and trade unions to
come up with ways to improve the safety and well-being of
employees in its supplier factories.
"We are very aware that the working situation in Cambodia is
problematic so that's why we're in the process of talking at an
industry-wide level," a Puma spokeswoman told Reuters.
Garment exports were Cambodia's biggest currency earner last
year. The sector employs more than 300,000 helping to feed
thousands of families in a country where a third of the
population live on $1 a day.
The industry generated $4.2 billion in exports last year but
has been plagued by pay disputes, mass faintings and illness
among workers, believed to be brought on by sweat-shop working
Puma said Kaoway had on Friday agreed to improve pay for its
workers, offering them a $10 monthly transport subsidy and a
daily subsidy of $0.50.
Two other young women working for Kaoway Sports were also
injured on Monday, human rights organisations LICADHO and CLERC
A different Puma supplier in Cambodia was placed under
investigation last year after a mass fainting. Other big brands
that use Cambodian suppliers include H&M, Nike,
Marks & Spencer, New Balance and Gap
A panel of international and local judges earlier this month
called on garment factories in Cambodia to urgently increase
employees' salaries and pressed big international clothing
brands to do more to improve working conditions.