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Agreement eludes negotiators in The Great Duke hotel case

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Protesters ask authorities to intervene in the case so they are properly compensated. Heng Chivoan

Agreement eludes negotiators in The Great Duke hotel case

Negotiations to find an amicable solution to the case pitting the owners of The Great Duke Phnom Penh hotel against former employees demanding proper compensation have yet to yield any result.

More than 100 former employees of hotel have been demonstrating in front of the hotel since Monday, demanding the intervention of the authorities to mediate in the dispute.

The demonstrators say they were not given proper compensation for their dismissal after the hotel closed in December.

Following Monday’s protest, the Ministry of Labour summoned both parties for negotiations.

The deputy secretary-general of the Committee for the Resolution of Strikes at the Ministry of Labour, Tes Rokhaphal, told The Post that the parties failed to reach an agreement.

He said at the current stage of the negotiation process, further protests would be against the law. He appealed to the protesters to “remain calm” and wait for a resolution.

“Their protest on Monday was against the law. They did ask for permission to hold the demonstration but did not wait for an answer and just went ahead with it.

“Another protest at this point will be against the law so we ask them to wait for a fair resolution. We will continue to mediate,” Rokhaphal said, adding that if no agreement is reached, the case will go to the Arbitration Council.

The employees say the company has failed to provide proper compensation as stipulated in the Labour Law.

They accuse the hotel owners of failing to provide seniority payments before last year, as well as not paying damages, compensation in lieu of prior notice and annual leave payments.

Article 91 of the Employment Law stipulates that the termination of a labour contract without valid reasons, by either party to the contract, entitles the other party to damages.

The hotel, on the other hand, says it is not legally bound to pay damages because the employees were fired due to economic reasons.

Regarding the other three points (seniority payments, compensation in lieu of prior notice and annual leave payments), it said it has requested permission to disburse money to the employees in three stages, beginning next month and ending in April.

A lawyer who represents the employer told The Post that the company’s stance is that it is not obligated to pay damages because the employees were dismissed for a valid “economic reason” – the hotel was losing money and could no longer afford to keep them on the payroll.

This is in agreement with articles 90, 91 and 94 of the Employment Law, the lawyer said.

A protester and former hotel employee, Chea Chanmorn, told The Post on Tuesday that they will continue to demand proper compensation.

“Our stance hasn’t changed. I have worked at the hotel for many years and all I ask is that I am compensated properly for my work. I am quite old now and it will be hard for me to find a job somewhere else,” he said.

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