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Allegations and rubbish piling up as strike goes on

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Rubbish piles up in Chey Chumneah commune, Daun Penh district on Thursday. Heng Chivoan

Allegations and rubbish piling up as strike goes on

The Phnom Penh Municipal Hall on Thursday expressed frustration with workers who refused to return to work, leaving district authorities throughout the capital the task of clearing rubbish from the streets on their own.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training officials warned Tourism Workers’ Union Federation (CTWUF) Touch Kosal to stop inciting striking waste workers.

The ministry’s Department of Labour Dispute Resolution director Chrun Theravong said: “Touch Kosal’s action at Cintri (Cambodia) Ltd are illegal based on Article 65 of the Law on Unions and Article 83 of the Labour Law,” Theravong said

Theravong said if Kosal does not stop or violates the warning letter, his organisation could be sued.

Kosal denied the allegations, saying the ministry had no clear basis for claiming he was behind the strike.

“It is very unfair that the ministry accuses me without any basis. I have nothing to do with the strike. I just facilitate and try to get the two sides to reconcile with each other,” Kosal said.

He demanded the ministry present evidence that he had led and incited Cintri workers.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration also issued a letter on Thursday expressing regret for the actions of some Cintri workers who did not comply with a Wednesday agreement to return to work.

The municipal authorities have been using all means at their disposal to collect rubbish in the capital.

Cintri workers representative Rorng Saray said on Thursday that more than 2,000 workers were still on strike in front of the company, demanding it comply with their conditions.

“Some of the workers did not fully understand what the municipal governor said, so they agreed to return to work. For us, we refused to return to work. We are waiting for the five-point solution the workers demanded,” Saray said.

In some Phnom Penh districts, authorities are calling on people to pack rubbish properly and cooperate with authorities while the strike goes on.

Por Sen Chey district governor Hem Darith said because Cintri’s rubbish collectors are on strike, his district officials will collect rubbish. At the same time, Darith said he will recruit 90 more people by paying 45,000 riel ($11) per day.

“We have managed to collect rubbish because Cintri does not have workers. We have 10 trucks from the municipal hall for this operation, but we lack the people to collect rubbish and put it in the truck,” he said.

He added that people in good physical condition or scavengers can apply for this job. He also wants residents to cooperate in putting rubbish in the trucks.

Daun Penh district governor Sok Penh Vuth told The Post there were nearly 30 modern trucks and motorbikes for use in his district.

“We have a total of 105 people that we pay 20,000 riel and two meals per day. Each truck contains about one tonne of rubbish, and we are committed to collecting four times a day,” he said.

Penh Vuth also urged people to avoid putting rubbish on the street, which leads to blocking of traffic.

Dangkor district governor Kim Nhep similarly announced the recruitment of workers to collect and transport solid waste. She said that during this transitional phase, the district administration needs 36 workers.

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