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Two dollar strike to continue

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Angkor Beer promoters protest for overtime wages outside the Cambrew headquarters in Phnom Penh yesterday.

Angkor Beer promoters yesterday rejected an offer from the municipality that would have required them to suspend their strike while officials negotiated a solution for them, telling Phnom Penh’s deputy governor that their protest is legal and that their employer is breaking the law.

“Deputy governor Pa Socheatvong told us to suspend the protest and let city officials resolve it for us, but we said that all we are asking is for the company to respect the decision of the Arbitration Council,” said beer promoter Oum Phary. “What we are doing is not illegal.”

She said that five of the women met with city officials yesterday. They were told they were being unreasonable, Oum Phary said.

More than 30 women have been striking for almost two working weeks to pressure the company, Cambrew, to pay them US$2-a-day overtime when they work on Sundays, following a July 7 decision by the Arbitration Council that said Cambrew was legally obligated to do so.

Yeong Sreymom, who was hospitalised on Tuesday night, said that she lost consciousness after a company van pushed through the protesters. The expectant mother, who remained in a hospital bed yesterday, said she felt weak but hoped to rejoin the protest soon. “I want to keep protesting. I don’t what to give in this time,” she said.

Ou Tep Phally, vice-president of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers’ Federation, said the federation was preparing to sue the driver of the Angkor minivan.

Cambrew executive Chou Choung Kim said the company would resolve the dispute today. He said the same thing on Tuesday. Pa Socheatvong could not be reached.

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