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4 Dec 2021

Chea Sokny & Sam Sopich, CamboJA

Cambodia: Meeting between union leaders representing laid-off employees and govt. fails to reach solution; union's mass gatherings to protest for solution will go ahead

"Impasse Over NagaWorld Layoffs After Union Leaders Meet Labor Ministry Official", 4 December 2021

A meeting between the Ministry of Labor and the unions representing NagaWorld workers made little headway … and ended with the laid-off casino staff vowing to go ahead with a mass protest this month.

The inconclusive talks saw the ministry request more time to negotiate with the Phnom Penh casino owner — which laid off more than 1,300 staff members … citing a pandemic-related drop in profits.

While most of the retrenched workers accepted redundancy packages well below what they were legally owed, 373 unionized staff members are demanding they be reinstated and say they are being persecuted for their union affiliation.

Khieu Savuth, deputy director of the ministry’s labor disputes department, said he could not comment until government had been able to meet with the company…

However, she said that unless the company meets a list of nine demands drafted by the union they will not agree to negotiate and will go ahead with a … mass protest — which the government asked them to cancel…

But a consortium of rights groups said … that the recent notice of dismissal of trade union leaders and activists showed NagaWorld’s intention to violate the basic rights of workers to organize for better working conditions…

“If the ministry does not have a suitable solution that can be accepted by the staff the demonstration will go ahead as planned,” Chhim Sithar, president of the Labor Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of NagaWorld, confirmed after the meeting with government…