PHNOM PENH - Hundreds of workers have been fired from a Cambodian factory making sportswear for U.S. giant Nike (IW 500/58) following a series of protests over pay, unionists said on Tuesday, denouncing the move as "unacceptable" and illegal.
"They have been forced to resign from their jobs without any compensation. This act is illegal," said Mann Seng Hak, a leader of the Free Trade Union.
He said nearly 300 workers had been sacked.
"This is a kind of punishment to threaten workers not to hold more protests or strikes. It's unacceptable," he told AFP, adding that his group would complain to the government.
There was no immediate comment from the factory owner.
Cambodian workers have staged a series of shows of discontent at low wages and tough conditions in the multibillion-dollar textile industry, which produces goods for top Western brands.
At least 10 workers were injured on June 3 when police broke up a demonstration at the Sabrina Cambodia Garment Manufacturing in the southern province of Kampong Speu making goods for Nike, according to unionists.
A week earlier riot police allegedly used stun batons against the strikers. Protesters said a pregnant woman suffered a miscarriage in that crackdown, and have accused the security personnel of using excessive force to quell the rallies.
Cambodia holds elections on July 28, with strongman premier Hun Sen -- who has led the country since 1985 -- looking to extend his hold on power.
The textile industry, which employs about 650,000 people and produces clothes for top Western brands, is a key source of foreign income for the country.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013