Garment workers struggle to pay debts as lockdown bites

Making ends meet: Garment workers, most of them in deep debts, standing on trucks as they head to work outside Phnom Penh. — AP

After weeks without pay, it was debt that drove garment worker Eang Malea back to her factory when it reopened this month, eclipsing her heightened fear of falling ill amid a surge of Covid-19 cases on factory floors.

The 850,000 people who work in Cambodia’s US$7bil (RM28.9bil) garment industry have been prioritised for Covid-19 vaccines, but Malea has not yet secured hers and promises of debt relief amid strict lockdowns have not materialised, she said.

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