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High-rise employees strike over new shifts

MORE than 700 construction workers yesterday protested outside the Vattanac Capital high-rise on Monivong Boulevard after they were ordered to work overtime for what they deemed insufficient pay.

Workers at the site, where construction began last year, were previously assigned shifts running from 7am to 11am and from 1pm to 5pm, and were paid US$3.50 each day. But representative Sreng Nary said the Korean construction company in charge of the site had told the workers yesterday that they would need to work from 7am to 12pm, from 1:30pm to 6pm and then from 7pm to 11pm. He said that they were also told they would be given around 3,000 riels (about US$0.75) per day for the overtime shift.

“We cannot stand for this change,” he said.

Mear Moa, 46, a construction worker from Kampong Cham province, said the construction company had changed shift times in the past, and that the changes announced yesterday were unacceptable because “all of the workers are tired and need to take a rest”.

A man who identified himself as a representative of the construction company, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said yesterday that the company would stick by the changes despite the strike. “We will let the workers go if they are not happy working for us,” he said. “We will just keep the people who are satisfied with the wages we provide.”

Construction on the 38-storey tower is set to be completed in 2012.

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