Builders at Mall Say They Haven’t Been Paid for Three Months, Again

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Construction workers protest in front of DNC mall in Phnom Penh’s Toul Kork district on October 26, 2020. (Supplied)
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Nearly 100 construction workers protested in Phnom Penh’s Toul Kork district on Monday, claiming the developer of a new mall has not paid them for three months.

DNC Mall, in Boeng Kak II commune, issued a statement in June when workers protested with similar complaints. At the time, DNC blamed the contractor, Yu Ti Building, which in turn accused the mall of missing payments.

Choem Chab, 40, a bricklayer from Kampong Thom province, said about 100 workers from outside Phnom Penh, who had worked at the site and another being built by the same company, already went home because they weren’t getting paid.

“We’ve done no work because we are waiting to get our payment,” Chab said. “Yesterday I borrowed $20 to pay for my food. … Now I’m in debt for nearly $1,000.”

She said she was borrowing from the broker that had brought her to the job.

Sarey Theara, 26, who works on electrical wiring and piping, said he would wait to get paid then move onto another construction site. “We don’t know why the company can’t pay us,” Theara said, adding that his monthly wage was about $500. “Now I’ve borrowed from my cousin and relatives to pay for living costs.”

Phear Ley, 35, said he had worked at the site for a year, and in the past, protests had been effective to get the company to meet the rare late payment.

About $100 of his $300 monthly salary went toward monthly payments for a motorbike, he added.

“It is very difficult for us and it is hard to elaborate,” Ley said. “The most important thing is that the company gives us our salaries for these three months.”

Commune police chief Khath Khun Tith confirmed that the workers were demanding their salaries, but would not elaborate.

District governor Ek Khun Doeun said only that he had received a letter from the workers and would work with the company to find a compromise.

Calls to listed numbers for the mall were not answered.

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