A $60,000 complaint by Cambrew against worker representatives was in large parts dismissed today by Sihanoukville Provincial Court. The court rejected the complaint against food and service federation leader Sar Mora, but ordered a local union leader to pay $3,000 compensation.
In today’s five-minute court hearing, Judge Keo Mony announced that "the court orders Mr Khem Mao to pay $3,000 to the company." He rejected the complaint against the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation’s Mora, without elaborating on the reasons.
Cambrew, which is partially owned by brewing giant Carlsberg, had lodged a $60,000 complaint against Mora and against the president of the local Democratic Workers Union of Angkor Beer Company, Khem Mao, after a strike last August.
About 100 workers went on strike for five days to protest the sacking of warehouse manager Lim Roath.
The company produces Angkor, Carlsberg, Bayon, Klang and Black Panther beers.
After the hearing, Mora said they would appeal the compensation Mao was ordered to pay. "Cambrew doesn’t want to lose face" he said. "But they also don’t want CFSWF to exist, so they put pressure on local leaders. That’s their strategy, I think."
The director of labour rights group Central, Moeun Tola, said that the ruling against Mao was part of a strategy to silence local unions. "I don’t say whether it’s Cambrew’s strategy or the employer’s strategy, but everyone understands that the court system is not independent and it's used as a political tool to oppress union leaders" he said.
Cambrew and Mao have one month to appeal.
Cambrew representatives could not be reached.