Phnom Penh - Tens of thousands of garment workers have returned to work in Cambodia, ending a two-week pay dispute after authorities used deadly force to quell a strike and thwart a protest by their political allies seeking a re-run of a July election.
A union and the country's garment factory association estimated that between 65 and 70% of workers had returned to factories.
About 350 000 had gone on strike, threatening to cripple the country's main export industry, with more than $5bn in revenue a year coming in from big international brands such as Adidas, Gap as well as H&M Hennes & Mauritz .
Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, which represents 521 clothing and footwear factories, put the losses suffered by members at "much more than $200m".
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party says the general election in July was stolen by the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) of longtime premier Hun Sen and it wants a re-run.
Its protests and boycott of parliament in the weeks after the election achieved nothing but the CNRP started another rally on 15 December, which gained fresh momentum from 24 December when the garment workers came out to join the protest.