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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Union reps still out of work

Union reps still out of work

Union reps still out of work

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Angkor Village Hotel and Resort staff protest outside the Siem Reap property last year. Photograph: Thik Kaliyann/Phnom Penh Post

Labour rights advocates have criticised the treatment of two workers after their employer sacked them in December 2010 – a month after they formed a union – and subsequently defied court and Arbitration Council rulings that they be reinstated.

Chhun Pov and Tep Mao, representatives of the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Confederation (BWTUC), were fired from the Banjamat Company in Kampot province, BWTUC vice-president Van Thol said yesterday.

“After the company made them work without public holidays – violating the labour law – they established the union,” he said.

The company defied an Arbitration Council ruling in March last year to give the men their jobs back.

The Kampot Provincial Court and the Court of Appeal also ordered the company, an affiliate of K Cement, to reinstate them.

The company complied in April – but the men were sent to another factory five kilometres away, Van Thol said.

Chhun Pov said he and Tep Mao had refused because the other factory was too far from their 280 union members.

“We won’t go,” he said.

Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center, said that not implementing the decisions of the Arbitration Council and the courts was a “criminal offence”.

The Post reported last week that another company, the Angkor Village Hotel and Resort in Siem Reap, was ignoring an Arbitration Council ruling, which Dave Welsh, country director of the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, described as a “mockery of the Labour Law”.

Welsh’s sentiments were similar yesterday.

“This is an important construction company that views itself as being above the rulings,” he said. “But [it] needs to get used to the fact that human rights exist.”

Banjamat administration chief Uy Piseth said the two men had failed to notify the company by letter that they intended to form a union and their roles had since been filled, forcing a transfer. K Cement could not be reached for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story:Chhay Channyda at [email protected]

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