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Hotel owner stands ground

Hotel owner stands ground

The owner of the Angkor Village Hotel and Resort in Siem Reap yesterday baulked at demands made by officials and protesters that she reinstate 67 workers who were fired after allegedly trying to start a union.

The sacked workers claim they were unlawfully dismissed after unionising and have been protesting outside the luxury hotel since Wednesday.

Siem Reap’s deputy governor Kim Chhay Heang has said that the hotel was breaking the law and an Abitration Council ruling has backed the workers, but the hotel has refused to budge.

Hotel owner Tep Vantho, who cried while talking to the Post yesterday, said that the protests had “affected her business and her guests” and that the protest was not “suitable” action. But she showed no signs of backing down.

“They [former workers] should speak with me to find resolution,” she said, claiming that workers had not tried to form a union. She has, instead, filed a court complaint alleging six union representatives of crimes against her including death threats. Dave Welsh, country director of the American Centre for Labour Solidarity, said yesterday that Tep Vantho had “clearly done something wrong” and that the case could reach ministerial level.

Chan Sokhom Kitha, a director of  the labour department in Siem Reap, said: “On behalf of the labour department, I will examine this case. But the workers have said that they will protest until a solution comes out.”

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