More Than 1,000 Naga Casino Workers Go on Strike

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Striking workers protest outside the NagaWorld casino in Phnom Penh on January 9, 2020. (Hy Chhay/VOD)

More than 1,000 workers at the NagaWorld casino began a strike on Thursday demanding higher wages and the reinstatement of their union representative, and vowed to continue until their demands were met.

The workers began a campaign for raises across the board in September, calling for up to $300 a month for hotel workers and $500 for those on the gambling floor, leading to the suspension of Naga union president Chhim Sithar.

Chhun Sokha, the union’s vice president, said the company had failed to offer a compromise after three months, so the workers were escalating the dispute.

“The company did not soften its position, so the union is also holding its position,” said the Khmer Employees’ Labor Rights Support Union of NagaWorld officer. “We are standing firm and holding a strike until there is a solution. If there is no solution [offered] that is acceptable for the employees, we will not stop.”

Another union representative, Peng Sophea, said he was disappointed that the Labor Ministry had not called for face-to-face negotiations between the two sides. The ministry should facilitate a speedy resolution, he said.

“[We] urge the ministry to call for the company to talk,” Sophea said.

Labor Ministry spokesman Heng Sour would say only that although the ministry could mediate in the dispute, decisions could be made only by the parties involved.

NagaCorp communications manager Dy Seyha could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Khun Tharo, program manager for rights group Central, said the dispute had international significance, with the E.U. mentioning the case in a report evaluating Cambodia’s compliance with international rights conventions under a duty-free trade scheme.

The E.U. is set to announce next month whether it will suspend duty-free trade with Cambodia over alleged labor and human rights violations.

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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