Moeun Tola, executive director of the newly founded Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights, said Mr. Sophorn had the worker-safety equation upside down.
“I don’t think it’s the workers’ failure. It’s the government’s failure,” Mr. Tola said. “It’s quite common when you don’t have money, you have to look at the cheapest service or goods.”
He added that the government needed to consider providing a public transportation system for garment workers.
“As long as workers receive low wages, they’re still looking for cheap private transportation, and if the government does not care about public transportation, I don’t think the issue will be addressed much,” Mr. Tola said, noting that the monthly $7 transportation allowance stipulated by the government also needed to be raised.
“If they had enough money, the workers would demand that truck drivers not load so many people,” he said. “If people have enough to fulfill their basic needs, people will think about their own safety.”
“The transport allowance should be adjusted now because the cost of living is also higher and the [cost of] transportation is also higher,” he added.
“I don’t think the factories will voluntarily do it, unless the government forces them.”