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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Beer girl allies target Carlsberg

Beer girl allies target Carlsberg

An Angkor Beer promoter speaks into a microphone during a protest outside the Cambrew headquarters in Phnom Penh earlier this month.

Angkor beer promoters will meet again this afternoon with city officials mediating the dispute between them and their employer, as pressure mounts on Carlsberg to bring an equitable end to a dispute over $2 of daily overtime.

Carlsberg, which owns half of Angkor beer brewer Cambrew, had received letters from unions in Denmark, where it is based, and international lab-our federations that were “appalled by Carlsberg’s behaviour in Cambodia”, Mora Sar, president of the Cambodia Food Workers’ Association, told the Post yesterday.

“Carlsberg is concerned about its image and how the strike in Cambodia affects it,” Mora Sar said. Reports about the strike, which has been suspended until Thursday, also began appearing in the Danish media last week.

The 175 million-strong International Trade Union Confederation has urged Carlsberg “to act now to ensure that women workers are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve, and have the protection they so clearly need”.  

In an August 4 letter to Carlsberg’s chief executive, the confederation said it was “deeply concerned about the degrading conditions in which beer promoters work. They are subjected to constant sexual harassment by customers and are under intense pressure to consume alcohol”.

The confederation homed in on Cambrew’s refusal to implement a judgment by the Arbit-ration Council that sided with the beer promoters’ claim that they were entitled to overtime for working on Sundays.

“Cambrew has to date failed to honour that judgment. Certainly, Carlsberg would not ignore the judgment of a Danish tribunal,” it said.

Sar Mora and representatives of the strikers will meet this afternoon with city officials who agreed last week to mediate the dispute.

Beer promoter Yeong Sreymom said city officials were trying to resolve the dispute because Cambrew feared their strike would spread.

Ian Lubec, a Canadian academic who has been researching the beer industry in Cambodia for 12 years, said the suspension of the strike gave Cambrew “one week to bring about an equitable solution or allow Carlsberg to get its PR machine rolling”.

Sara Mora said several of the women who had returned to work had been shifted to less lucrative venues.

Instead of returning to busy restaurants and beer gardens, they had been relocated to nightspots with few customers and far lower sales commissions, he said. “They are being punished for striking.’’
Carlsberg declined to comment yesterday.



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