A strike by hundreds of employees of Phnom Penh’s sole refuse collection company ended yesterday after workers were offered a financial incentive to return to the job.
Nguon Sipheng, a Cintri representative, told the Post that while the company rejected every point on a list of demands put forward by the protesters, it agreed yesterday to a monthly payout of $5 or $10 depending on the employees’ positions.
“Do not confuse this amount of money with being for health care or transportation fees … it is an incentive from the company,” Sipheng said, referring to two of the protesters’ main demands.
Rubbish truck driver Erm Un said that $10 had been offered to cart pullers and rubbish collectors, while $5 was awarded to street sweepers, truck drivers and technicians.
“We agreed with this decision, and all of us are working now,” he said.
In addition to the payout, Cintri agreed to consider raising salaries in 2015, according to Mom Sarorn, president of the Trade Union Federation for Increasing Khmer Employees Lifestyles, who was in attendance at yesterday’s negotiations.
Sarorn said that while the concession did not meet the demands laid out by the union, the money could “help the workers pay for things like medicine and rent”.
“It is not ideal, but it is OK,” Sarorn added.
Aunny Ieng, Phnom Penh deputy governor, said he expected that anyone who did not return to work yesterday would do so by today.
“I think everything is almost over,” he said, adding that the cash incentives awarded to the workers were “not part of their salary under the law” but “extra money to support their living conditions”.
This week’s strike action began after a garbage truck driver was accused of stealing company petrol, allegedly threatened with being shot by a security guard and then briefly detained.
On Tuesday, many striking employees agreed to return to work after Cintri fired both the company’s garage director and the guard who allegedly made the threat.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ALICE CUDDY