One Angkor beer promoter was hospitalised yesterday after reportedly being struck by a company minivan and another three fainted from smoke inhalation when police attempted to extinguish flames from tyres they had set alight on the eighth day of their strike.
Yoeun Sreymon, 29, was taken to Bayon Hospital after being knocked down by a red Angkor minivan, fellow strikers said. They said she was pregnant and that she was unconscious when they took her to the private hospital for undisclosed injuries.
Phnom Penh Police commissioner Touch Naroth said last night he had told his officers to show restraint, but also to prevent the women from burning tyres. “I assure you that my officers did not cause any injuries,” he said.
The women have been protesting outside the head office of their employer, Cambrew, for eight days in a dispute over unpaid overtime.
Cambrew executives have declined to meet them or comment on the strike.
Carlsberg, which owns half of the company, said last week it was investigating. The strikers said Carlsberg has yet to speak to any of them about the US$2 of overtime the Arbitration Council ruled on July 7 that Cambrew owed them for each Sunday they worked.
More than 30 women were joined yesterday by representatives from another union, the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union.
Its president, Ath Thorn, said Cambrew had agreed to a meeting at 2:30pm and then cancelled. Ath Thorn described this as another example of the company’s unwillingness to settle the dispute.
If the company did not settle the dispute, his union would take action, Ath Thorn said.
Chou Choung Kim, a spokesman for Cambrew, said its lawyer would reach a settlement with the strikers today.
Police chief Touch Naroth said: “The police cannot solve this dispute. It’s up to the Arbitration Council and the company. I don’t know why it has not been solved.”
He said the municipality would intervene tomorrow. Deputy governor Pa Socheatvong would meet with the strikers and try to find a solution, he said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHEANG SOKHA