Around 300 staff of Baomai Resort and Casino, which has currently ceased operations, protested a second time to demand more than $170,000 in outstanding wages for August and early September.
Preah Sihanouk provincial Department of Labour and Vocational Training director Yov Khemara told The Post on Tuesday that the owner failed to pay their wages on September 12, saying the casino did not have enough money.
The staff protested again on Monday. But after a provincial Department of Labour working group visited on September 16, a Chinese national representing the casino owner agreed to pay the workers on September 23.
“We went to negotiate an agreement with the company owner. He had promised to pay the staff since last week but then said he did not have the money. That’s why the staff protested again. We went there to make another contract, and both parties agreed to the wages being paid this Monday.
“The delay in the salary payment for staff might result in a change of casino owner. But now the casino owner has promised to pay salaries to the staff after the landlord who rented out the casino intervened,” Khemara said.
Forty of the 300 staff members at the casino in Sihanoukville’s Commune 4, he said, were Chinese nationals. The total amount of outstanding salary was around $170,000.
“The casino owner promised to pay salaries to the staff. But he failed to pay, so we will take action according to Articles of the Labour Law,” Khemara said.
Bao Mai staff representative Seng Channy told The Post that they hoped the casino owner would comply with the contract after reaching an agreement with the provincial Department of Labour.
‘The new employer ran away’
The casino generally paid its staff on the 10th of every month, Channy said. But they did not get paid for August, which was scheduled to be paid on September 10.
They were asked to wait until September 11.
But come September 11, salaries were still not paid and the staff was told to wait until September 15.
However, even on that date, no salaries were forthcoming, causing them to protest and complain to the provincial Department of Labour once again to seek help to resolve the matter.
The casino owner then agreed to pay the outstanding wages.
“It is not the new employer who promised to pay the salaries for the employees. Rather it was the old employer who promised to do so.
“He is responsible for the outstanding wages because originally the casino belonged to him. The new employer ran away. Both old and new employers are Chinese nationals,” Channy said.
The casino had been suspended since September 1 and the employees had stopped working there, Channy said.
Provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc Cheap Sotheary said the labour issues in Preah Sihanouk province were a concern for employees because company and casino owners did not know much about Cambodian labour laws.
“The relevant authorities should better instruct hoteliers and casino owners on Cambodian labour laws. Then, it is hoped they would not have problems with their employees,” Sotheary said.