Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - MFone workers told to wait

MFone workers told to wait

MFone workers told to wait

mfone
Employees left jobless by Mfone’s bankruptcy protest in front of the company’s boarded-up Phnom Penh office on Sunday. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Former employees of the failed telecomm-unications company MFone have been told they can expect a decision next month on their claims  for more than $4 million in compensation.

Former Mfone section manager Bou Kunthea said after a meeting yesterday with offic-ials from the Ministry of Soc-ial Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, led by Secret-ary of State Vong Sovann, that attendees had agreed to reconvene next month.

“All participants have agreed to hold another meeting on April 8 with all those Mfone owes money to,” she said.

“We don’t know how much we will get from the sale of Mfone’s assets. We will have to wait to see the result of the meeting next month.”

The workers estimate that Mfone owes 1,092 employees more than $4.4 million.

Kunthea said employees were owed between $1,000 and $50,000 each, based on  length of employment. She said some had been with the company more than 20 years.

“We demand this money in accordance with the Labour Law,”  she said.

“Some staff are poor, and some are students who need money for their studies.”

Yesterday, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court appointed lawyer Ouk Ry to temporarily oversee the administration of MFone’s assets.

Dave Welsh, country director for the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity, whose organisation has been working in consultation with the Ministry of Labour on the Mfone dispute, said that just as with labour disputes in the garment sector, workers’ compensation should be the priority.

Welsh said he had advised the ministry that under bankruptcy proceedings, workers’ debts came first and should be paid in full.

“Once they are paid in full, look after any other obligat-ions. But workers get priority,” Welsh said.

Dr Naryth Hem, a managing partner with the Cambodian law firm BNG Legal, confirmed that along with administrat-ive and court fees, employee wages had the highest priority among claims under Cambodian insolvency law.

“I think the seniority fee [severance pay] connected to the wages should have the same priority,” Hem said.

Thaicom, Mfone’s parent company, released a statement last month saying M-fone’s insolvency applicat-ion  had been accepted and the court had appointed an administrator to handle the bankruptcy proceedings.

Mfone is estimated to have been more than $70 million in debt to its creditors, which include  the Chinese telecoms equipment provider Huawei Technologies.

At the time of print, neither Mfone’s holding company, Shenington Investments, nor Thaicom could be reached for further comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused

  • PM sets tourism reopening as centrepiece of ATF 2022

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged ASEAN to reopen tourism and trade now that many of the bloc’s member countries have vaccinated their populations. Speaking at the 40th ASEAN Tourism Forum 2022 (ATF 2022) in Preah Sihanouk province on January 18, the premier also said ASEAN has a