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Casino strikers call judge’s bluff

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Tropicana Casino's workers strike to ignore a court order to return to work. Photograph supplied


Striking casino staff in Poipet town who had been working 12-hour days without a break while being paid in Thai baht would ignore a court order to return to work, a union representative said yesterday.

Sat Sep, a Free Trade Union leader at the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Banteay Meanchey province, said more than 200 workers striking for a fifth day would continue until he and another sacked union representative were reinstated.

“The workers shouted ‘Injustice!’ outside the casino today,” Sep said, describing their reaction to a court order in which  judge Pich Vicheathor wrote that workers were striking illegally and would be making a “serious mistake” if they did not return to work after 48 hours.

“We do not agree with the court order, because they have not taken into consideration the workers’ demands – they have just tried to force us back to work,” Sep said.

The two union leaders were sacked in February and March, prompting a series of strikes throughout the year.

Little had changed for the workers since their September strike, during which bosses had agreed to discuss the demands, the American Center for International Labor Solidarity’s Dave Welsh said.

Workers were still doing 12-hour shifts without breaks and enduring other conditions that were illegal, Welsh  said.

This was despite the Arbitration Council ordering bosses to meet workers’ representat-ives to discuss demands and reinstate the union leaders.

“The Arbitration Council has ruled and given a pathway to a [resolution] — that the employer abide by the Labour Law,” Welsh said.

“This is not a complicated situation.”

The union had proof it had notified the Ministry of Labour about the workers’ intention to strike, Welsh added. “The union has acted legally.”

Tropicana’s lawyer, Hy Seang Ny, said casino bosses would reinstate the union leaders if the court found they had done nothing wrong.  


To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at

With assistance from Shane Worrell



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