A series of mass faintings have occurred at Cambodian manufacturing factories. Fashion items belonging to the brands Adidas and Puma were made at the premises by poor workers.
About 118 employees at Puma and Adidas sweatshops in Cambodia have been subject to faintings recently. The Shen Zhou and Daqian Textile factories were the venues where the incident took place.
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The police and authorities have started investigations into the real reasons behind the mass unconscious occurrences. It may have been due to unhygienic food which the workers ate from the canteen.
"We don't know why but one worker was sick and others just saw them and began to collapse," district police chief Khem Saran told Reuters.
Samples of the eatables at the tuck shop are being sent to laboratories for analysis. Meanwhile, another major reason may have been the poor working conditions of the employees. They often work in close quarters and Cambodia is known for its sweltering hot and highly humid climate.
Furthermore, the chemicals used to make stuff such as shoes are toxic and may have had something to do with scores of people undergoing fainting spells.
This happening is extremely damaging to the already notorious reputation of the garments industry of Cambodia. While it brings in more than $5 billion and employs 600,000 employees, there have been strikes and discontent among the workers recently.
Most of them earn a mere $100 per month which is not enough for a family to sustain itself. The demand is for at least $160 on a monthly basis. Already the police have used live ammunition on the strikers of whom a few died.
The multinationals Adidas and Puma are getting the criticism of a lifetime for the treatment they mete out to the workers in Third World sweatshops. Insufficient ventilation, harmful chemicals and the very strong glue used for footwear have all been blamed for the workers’ plight.
One of them attached to an IV drip has said that it was so hot in the sweatshop that he began to vomit and furthermore got a bad case of diarrhea. "It was hot and I began to vomit, I had diarrhoea and others had the same problems," said 30 years old Nguon Sarith.
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The issue is getting out of hand as human rights groups are up in arms everywhere over the mistreatment and dehumanization of workers in these sweatshops set up by the First World countries.