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Cambodia: Construction workers face unpaid wages while COVID-19 pandemic and flooding cause disruption of construction activities

"Workers face unpaid wages as pandemic, flooding stonewall construction activity", 11 November 2020

Mech Sareoun had not been paid in months and was relying on small loans from his employer to support his family. The COVID-19 pandemic had adversely affected the construction sector and its nearly 150,000 workers…

His lack of income made sure that he could not find his own way out of the predicament and he was unaware of the government’s call and efforts to evacuate ahead of a storm…

Most affected by the pandemic have been the export-reliant sectors, such as garment, footwear and travel goods exports, and the construction sector, which is also dependent on foreign direct investment…

Sok Kin, who is the president of the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia, said there was no attention paid to workers in the sector, likely because it had seen higher wages than other sectors…

He said the union was seeing consistent complaints of unpaid or irregularly-paid wages on a near-daily basis and that authorities needed to address these issues soon…

Heang Nim, 29, is one of the construction workers who returned to Cambodia after working for 10 years in Thailand’s construction sector. The Preah Sihanouk native was working at a mall in Tuol Kork district in Phnom Penh.

With a dip in the sector’s economic prospects, Nim was told by his employers – Yuti Building Decoration Engineering Cambodia and Hong Ding Xing Tain Di – that they did not have the fund to pay him the $1,500 he was owed…