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At least 6 dead after Cambodian factory collapses: union member

Heng Sinith / AP

Rescuers work at the site of a factory collapse in Kai Ruong village, south of Phnom Penh, on Thursday.

PHNOM PENH - At least six people died when a shoe factory collapsed in Cambodia on Thursday, and many others were injured, a member of the trade union at the plant said, amid concerns about safety standards at some Asian factories producing cheap clothing.

Cambodia has seen a rush of investment in recent years, especially into the shoe and garment sector, with Western and Asian firms attracted by its low-cost labor.

"There were about a hundred people inside the factory when it collapsed at about 7 a.m.," union member Sum Sokny, 29, told Reuters. She said five women and one man died at the plant.

According to one report, about 50 people were trapped inside the single-story building, located in Kampong Speu province, west of the capital, Phnom Penh. The factory is owned by Wing Star Shoes Co Ltd.

The Phnom Penh Post, a daily newspaper, reported on March 22 that workers from the plant had stopped work and blocked a main road for about an hour in a protest over wages and working conditions.

Strikes over pay and poor working conditions are common in Cambodia, which like Bangladesh is home to numerous factories producing clothing cheaply for Western retailers.

Related:

A series of deadly incidents at factories in Bangladesh have focused global attention on safety standards in the country's booming garment industry, the world's biggest exporter of clothing after China.

A high-rise factory housing garment manufacturers collapsed in Bangladesh on April 24, killing more than 1,100 people. That has sparked campaigns in the West to improve safety conditions at plants in the country supplying Western brand names.