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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A drive to unionise local hotel workers runs into a brick wall

A drive to unionise local hotel workers runs into a brick wall


Well-connected manager of the Nokor Phnom Hotel tries to bring a halt to labour union effort


The Nokor Phnom Hotel is battling a campaign to unionise its workers.

THE Siem Reap chapter of the Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation is facing an uphill battle to unionise local hotel staff.

The federation has unionised seven hotels but has now  locked horns with a major hotel, the 155-room Nokor Phnom on National Road 6, owned by Cambodian People's Party lawmaker Sam Heang, whose  son Sam Sochay is  the general manager.

The federation filed a complaint on Monday with the provincial Working Department after some employees were sacked for trying to unionise workers at the hotel.

The complaint stated that Sam Sochay "ousted a selected union leader", Sinyart Karnnareach, on August 17, a day before plans for a workers union were to be carried out.

The complaint also alleged that Sam Sochay forced other employees regarded as union activists to resign, a move the federation claims  is anti-union discrimination and unconstitutional.

The complaint also states that the hotel has always ignored standard working laws, but management maintains that the hotel is just a family business and a union is not wanted.

Federation director Part Sambo told the Post, "We now want the hotel to take those ousted employees back, and we want them to be given good working conditions."

Part Sambo said the problem the federation was having with the Nokor Phnom Hotel was typical of the Siem Reap hospitality industry's reluctance to adhere to labour regulations.

"There are now so many hotels in Siem Reap but most of them seem to never care about standard working laws," he said. "When we organise a union at a hotel to ask management for good working standards, we face problems similar to those at the Nokor Phnom."

He said he now wants the Provincial Working Department to pay more attention to labour problems at hotels.

Working Department deputy director Im Chamroeurn said, "We will try to solve this problem and find a good solution for the hotel and the workers. We will also try to make the hotel understand about standard working laws."

The Post could not contact Sam Sochay for comment.



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