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Cambodia: About 3,000 workers go on strike to demand higher wages and better working conditions from NagaWorld

Thousands of Cambodians working for a Hong Kong-listed casino company have gone on strike for higher pay and better working conditions. About 3,000 workers joined the strike in front of the NagaWorld hotel and casino complex, owned by Nagacorp Ltd in Phnom Penh to demand the reinstatement of their union leader, higher pay of $300 a month for hotel staff and $500 a month for those on the gambling floor.

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Article
16 January 2020

Cambodia: 23 CSOs issue a joint statement to express disappointment with court's order to suspend NagaWorld workers' strike

Author: CENTRAL & others

"CSOs' joint statement", 10 January 2020

We, as trade union federations and civil society organisations, are extremely disappointed with the provisional order of the Phnom Penh Court of First Instance issued … which decided to suspend strike action by NagaWorld employees … and which stated that employees which continued to strike would be determined as an illegal strike and as serious misconduct.

We observe that this provisional order violates workers’ fundamental rights to strike which is guaranteed by the Constitution, Labour Law, Trade Union Law of the Kingdom of Cambodia and International Labor Organisation Core Convention No. 87 which has been ratified by Cambodia.

According to the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of NagaWorld’s statement …, the union has used all peaceful methods for settling this dispute with the employer and has held meetings and a secret ballot with 97% out of more than 2000 workers who participated supporting a strike…, the union submitted notice to company management and relevant institutions were well informed specifying that a strike would occur …

We observe that the protection of public order is not an adequate excuse for a court to suspend a strike freely decided upon by members, ...

Therefore, we call on the public authorities to not block the peaceful strike of NagaWorld employees which is being held for the legitimate interests of those workers. We also call on NagaWorld to respect the rights of employees in exercising their fundamental rights to strike to demand their legitimate interests​ and the reinstatement of their union leader…

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Article
13 January 2020

Cambodia: About 3,000 casino and hotel workers protest to demand higher wages and better working conditions

Author: Chanthol Prak, Reuters

"Thousands on strike over pay at Cambodian casino NagaWorld", 9 January 2020

About 3,000 workers joined the strike in front of the NagaWorld hotel and casino complex, owned by Nagacorp Ltd, in Phnom Penh to demand higher pay of $300 a month for hotel staff and $500 a month for those on the gambling floor. NagaWorld did not respond to requests for comment...

They are also seeking the reinstatement of their union president, Chhim Sithar, who was suspended in September.

One of the strikers, By Kunthea, who has been working at the casino for 19 years, said the company had warned employees in a memo they would be fired if they went on strike.

“We demand a raise for workers ... we need to pay rent and food prices nowadays have also gone up,” By Kunthea said.

“The company makes a lot of profits.”

Card dealer Chan Maiya Mouy complained of poor working conditions including abusive behavior.

“We can’t go to the toilet if there is no one to fill in for us,” Chan Maiya Mouy said. “When gamblers lose, they curse us and throw water bottles at us.”

NagaCorp, which has the exclusive license to operate in Phnom Penh, reported an estimated $1.8 billion in revenue last year, up from $1.5 billion in 2018.

It posted a 9-month net gaming revenue of $616.3 million last year.

Khiev Savuth, deputy director of Labor Ministry’s labor dispute department, could not be reached for comment.

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Article
13 January 2020

Cambodia: Phnom Penh Municipal Court orders an investigation into NagaWorld unionists for violating a court's order

Author: Rinith Taing, Khmer Times

"Phnom Penh Municipal Court orders investigation into Naga union leader", 10 January 2020

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court ... ordered an investigation into NagaWorld’s union leaders and several other union members for breaching a court order which ruled a strike organised by the union ... as illegal.

Union members and other individuals were cited for organising a strike over wages and other demands in front of the NagaWorld building in Phnom Penh ...

Those who have been slated for investigations for contempt of court and will be questioned include Chhim Sithar, the president of Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of NagaWorld and Chhun Sokha, the union’s vice president, and several other members of the union who led the protest.

..., the court issued an order which prohibited the union and the workers who supported it to “postpone their protest” and return to work.

However, the protest was still held at the Hun Sen Park. It was attended by several hundred NagaWorld employees and alleged sympathisers and provocateurs.

The investigation warrant, authorised by Keo Sothea, Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s prosecutor, is also made in response to NagaWorld’s complaint.

... NagaWorld management could not be contacted for comment.

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Article
13 January 2020

Cambodia: Striking casino and hotel workers return to work after NagaWorld agrees to meet their demands

Author: Chanthol Prak, Reuters

"Striking Cambodian casino workers return to work in NagaWorld deal", 11 January 2020

Thousands of striking Cambodian workers of a Hong Kong-listed casino company returned to their jobs … after winning wage increases and the reinstatement of a suspended union leader in a rare labor victory…

The deal struck with NagaWorld also obtained the reinstatement of their union president, Chhim Sithar, who was suspended in September.

“Today, we returned to our shifts,” Hai Sopheap, 31, one of the strikers and union activist, told Reuters on Saturday, adding “this victory came out of our solidarity.”

Sopheap said NagaWorld had agreed to raise workers’ salaries between 18% and 30%.

Strikes over pay and working conditions are common in Cambodia and victory for workers is rare.

“The outcome will pave the way for the union to negotiate for other remaining demands,” said Khun Tharo, a program coordinator at the Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights.

NagaWorld did not respond to requests for comment…

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