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Caltex staffers stick to guns

Caltex petrol stations will remain closed for now after negotiations between the company and staff, many of whom went on strike on Monday demanding better pay, ended in disagreement yesterday.

Sar Mora, president of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers’ Federation, said the meeting resolved only about “10 per cent” of the issue and workers would continue to strike after refusing to accept a proposed solution from the firm.

“The company said it needs two or three months to survey [the wage situation],” he said, adding that Caltex had offered its cashiers an extra $10 per month, which had been refused. “The negotiations produced little result.”

About 300 employees from more than 20 stations across the country began striking on Monday, demanding a minimum monthly wage of $160 per month, the same amount the nation’s garment workers are calling for. Mora said other workers had since followed.

Cashiers now earn $130, service staff $110 and cleaners $100.

Yeun Reth, a representative of those on strike, said workers would continue to keep Caltex stations from serving motorists until they were granted raises.

“The workers have demanded increases since early last year,” he said, adding that the strikers would press on with their industrial action until May 20, when more negotiations are planned. “If the company does not increase our salary then, we will continue to strike.”

Caltex is marketed by Chevron (Cambodia) Limited, a subsidiary of US-based Chevron.

Chanlek Than, a Chevron spokesperson, said via email yesterday that Chevron was “disappointed that the union continues to reject our proposals”.

“We hope that our unionised employees will agree to resolve this matter amicably and to abandon their unlawful strike,” she said.

Khiev Savuth, deputy director of the Labour Ministry’s dispute department, who attended the meeting, referred questions to ministry spokesman Heng Sour, who could not be reached.

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