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NagaWorld striker sent to hospital after clash

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

NagaWorld striker sent to hospital after clash

One striker was hospitalised after NagaWorld guards hit him in the head and stomach, and two others were knocked unconscious during a brief clash yesterday morning between protesters and the casino’s security.

“Our lawyers are preparing a complaint to the judge against the company security because they hit protesters,” said Sok Narith, a former staff delegate and representative of the protesters.

Guards also confiscated the strikers’ loudspeakers, leaving them silenced in front of the casino, where they spent much of yesterday camped out holding homemade signs and huddling under umbrellas shading them from the powerful afternoon sun.

“Workers rights is human rights,” one banner read. “Stop embezzling workers’ wage,” another commanded.

The ongoing strike started on June 13, when hundreds of workers left their posts demanding the minimum wage in the casino be increased to $150 per month. Worker disputes at NagaWorld have been the subject of five Arbitration Council hearings since early 2009.

Last week the company sent out emails and text messages, informing more than 400 employees allegedly involved in the strike that they were fired.

Union representatives tried on Monday to meet with NagaWorld officials for a conciliation session at the Arbitration Council, but the casino’s representatives failed to show.

“We strike just to ask for some money from the company’s profit, not to ask for the company’s money,” said Chhoum Sophea, a striker. “But the company does not listen.”

The casino, which is owned by the Hong Kong-listed Nagacorp, earned a net profit of $113 million in 2012, Narith, who is also vice-president of the Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation, previously told the Post.

The workers demanded wage increases amounting to 1.5 per cent of that net profit, he said.

Employees in NagaWorld’s public relations department declined repeated requests for comment on the strike yesterday.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SEAN TEEHAN

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