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Hitting the road: Frustrated, some city bus drivers quit

Seven of 11 city bus drivers striking for higher wages yesterday resigned, saying that Phnom Penh City Hall had no intention of negotiating with them.

The drivers gathered at the Night Market on Tuesday, where the newest of the city’s three routes begins. Those who resigned earned $180 monthly, a driver representative said, but demanded between $280 and $300. Strikers said they were guaranteed raises to that salary level after a period of three months.

“We decided to quit our jobs, because if we continued to protest, nobody would settle,” Kimsan said. “The demands for justice, not empty promises, turned out to be fruitless, so we decided to walk off the job.”

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said on Tuesday that the 11 drivers on strike were replaceable and could find work in the public sector if they found their salaries unacceptable, pointing out that drivers are not under contract.

Dimanche yesterday held on to that attitude, saying that the public bus lines will be fine without the seven strikers who quit.

“Those who have returned to work can work normally,” Dimanche said, referring to the remaining four who came back to the job. “For those who have quit, we have already found replacements.”

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