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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Workers fight for right to strike

Workers fight for right to strike

Sacked workers from Siem Reap’s Angkor Village Hotel and Resort, who have previously had an arbitration council and a provincial court rule in favour of their reinstatement, were back in court yesterday fighting for their right to demonstrate in front of the establishment.

At an Appeal Court hearing, presiding judge Pak Chansambo said hotel co-owner Olivier Piot successfully lodged a complaint with Siem Reap provincial court last year requesting that authorities prevent the workers striking and demonstrating outside the hotel because it was disturbing public order and the hotel’s guests.

Workers appealed the provincial court decision in October.

The Angkor Village Hotel and Resort began firing workers last August, shortly after some of them attempted to unionise.

Piot and hotel co-owner Tep Vantho said at the time the workers had been dismissed for unrelated offences, including what Tep Vantho claimed was an attempt to poison her.

In a separate ruling in October, Siem Reap provincial court ordered the hotel owners to temporarily reinstate 67 sacked workers until a final decision was reached, following a non-binding ruling by the Arbitration Council, which also ruled for the workers’ reinstatement.

The provincial court reversed its order in December pending a final ruling by the Appeal Court.

Kim Socheat, a lawyer for the workers, said in court yesterday the original decision had blocked his clients’ right to protest. “This protest was to ask the owner to reinstate the sacked workers in accordance with the Arbitration Council’s decision,” he said.

Ing Sothy, a lawyer for the hotel, said the dismissed workers had disturbed public order and affected tourists.

Tep Vantho could not be reached for comment yesterday, and contact details for Olivier Piot were not available.

The Post reported earlier this month that 22 workers had accepted compensation from the hotel in lieu of returning to their old jobs. The Appeal Court will announce its decision on March 2.

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