Tensions flared yesterday when former Capitol Bus Company drivers, protesting what they claim are cases of unfair dismissal, clashed with a group of motorbike taxi drivers demanding an end to a protest they say is losing them passengers.
According to Hin Moeun, a representative of 45 bus drivers who say they have been sacked by the company for attempting to unionise, some 100 motodops confronted the protesters near the bus company’s headquarters close to O’Russey Market at 8:30 yesterday morning, when scuffles broke out leaving three bus drivers with minor injuries.
“We protested to find justice peacefully. We didn’t curse them, but they came to fight us right away. There were police standing there, but they did nothing,” he said. District police declined to comment.
The Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC), which has been monitoring the cases of the dismissed bus drivers, released a statement yesterday condemning the clash and accusing the company of initiating.
“Normally, when there is a protest at a company but the company does not allow it, and . . . another group who are not linked to it comes . . . this means that there must be something special behind it,” Porth Sokuon, a legal coordinator at CLC, said yesterday.
But Capitol Bus representative Phou Kokvann denied his firm had anything to do with the clash. “The clash was not with our company, it is between the former protesting drivers and the motodops nearby,” he said.
Ae Sophors, a representative of the motodops, said the group had acted independently of the company and had not intended to block protesters.
Motodops need to protect their “rice pots”, he said, referring to money earned from disembarking bus passengers. Sophors added that as many as 20 motodops were injured in the tussle.