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Cintri deal to end ‘trash mountains’

Temporary workers clean up garbage from the streets of Phnom Penh
Temporary workers clean up garbage from the streets of Phnom Penh yesterday while Cintri staff continued to strike. Joe Freeman

Cintri deal to end ‘trash mountains’

Striking rubbish collectors reached an agreement with waste collection firm Cintri to end their four-day industrial action yesterday, gaining a number of concessions from the company.

Cintri workers have already started returning to the city’s streets. The agreement sees street cleaners’ monthly wage raised by $15 to $120 and drivers’ wages hiked by $50 to $180, with additional bonuses for working night shifts.

Drivers have been banned from siphoning off petrol from their vehicles under the deal, which had previously provided a regular supplementary income.

Prak Sokha, a representative of the Cintri staff, said the workers had begun to clean the streets after the end of negotiations yesterday afternoon.

“We know that the garbage has been polluting the environment and spoiling the city’s beauty, and the smell has been affecting people’s health,” he said.

“So after the successful negotiations reached a positive conclusion, we are now in a hurry to carry out our jobs with responsibility and to end the trash mountains.”

Cintri representatives could not be reached yesterday.

More than 1,000 Cintri workers had been on strike since Sunday, resulting in mounds of refuse piling up by the city’s roads.

Yesterday, commune and district workers were scrambling to try and make a dent in the huge amounts of rubbish that had accumulated since the start of the strike.

Phnom Penh produces about 1,600 tonnes of waste every day, according to City Hall.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche on Tuesday accused striking rubbish collectors of “kidnapping” the city by going on strike.

In July, a strike by Cintri workers ended after the company agreed to wage increases of between $5 and $10 and suggested another set of raises could be in the offing next year.

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