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Teachers call for back pay

MORE than 30 teachers in Prey Veng province have appealed to the Ministry of Education for two years’ worth of unpaid bonuses and overtime wages totalling more than a million riels (US$240) each.

Sin Sophal, a representative of the teachers, said that during 2006 and 2007, the provincial education department promised to pay for teaching extra classes in the evening and on weekends, but that the benefits – totalling 1,221,600 riels – had not been forthcoming. “It is a lot of money for us ... but they don’t care about us,” he said.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said he wrote to Minister of Education Im Sethy on Wednesday on behalf of the Prey Veng teachers.

He said that teachers in some provinces – including Kandal, Kampot and Prey Veng – had experienced similar problems before, but that back pay was normally paid out.

“The Ministry of Education officers are careless with these problems because they think that teachers don’t have any power,” he said.

When contacted Wednesday, Nov Sophal, director of the staff bureau at Prey Veng’s provincial education department, said all the province’s teachers had received their full pay. “We spent our whole budget on both old and new staff,” he said.

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