Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Caltex strike deal doesn’t hold up

Caltex strike deal doesn’t hold up

A Caltex service station remains taped off and idle
A Caltex service station remains taped off and idle yesterday afternoon on Phnom Penh’s Monivong Boulevard. Vireak Mai

Caltex strike deal doesn’t hold up

After Caltex managers allegedly reneged on an agreement to pay workers a $20 bonus to suspend a strike for two months, employees say they would only return if the deal is in writing.

In a Friday meeting, the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation agreed with Caltex to suspend the strike for two months while the company reviews wages and pays workers the one-time bonus, said Sar Mora, the union’s leader.

Workers at 17 Phnom Penh branches walked off the job on May 12, demanding monthly salaries of at least $160 and an annual $160 bonus. All 18 locations in the capital are currently shut.

“On Friday, we agreed on the principle the company has proposed, that they will give a $20 bonus for waiting for two months,” Mora said.

That afternoon, Caltex human resources manager Heng Sovann told staff the company would not pay the bonus, said Yoeun Reth, 37, a Caltex staff member who attended both meetings.

“[Sovann] said we misunderstood and that she did not offer the $20,” Reth said. “[But] we all heard it with our own ears.”

In turn, Caltex employees backed out of the agreement, pledging to return only if the Friday morning deal is put in writing, Reth said.

Sovann declined to comment on the issue yesterday.

After the disagreement, Caltex management tried to persuade employees to return to work on Saturday, despite failing to reach a compromise. Some workers came in on Saturday morning, but left after a few hours, he said.

“The company is fickle, not loyal to us and it does not have a clear stance to solve the problem,” Reth said. “It is not a good point that the company tried to lobby staff to return to work without finding a resolution.”

Representatives from the Food and Service Workers Federation, Caltex and the Ministry of Labour will meet again today to continue negotiations, Mora said yesterday.

If Caltex wants to successfully negotiate, they must take steps to earn employees’ trust, he added.

“If we reach a written agreement, we will go back to work.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen’s China visit ‘a good opportunity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Beijing on Sunday to discuss economic and trade issues presents a good opportunity for the Kingdom to strengthen Chinese ties and counter punitive measures by the West, an analyst says. The prime minister’s four-day official visit to

  • Close to the edge: Hair raising pictures from Kulen Mountain

    A new hair raising attraction on Kulen Mountain has finally opened to the public, with people flocking to the protruding cliff edge overlooking green mountainous forests to take photographs. The giant overhanging rock is situated in an area known as Mahendraparvata – an ancient city of

  • ‘Action needed to stop road deaths doubling by next year’

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has expressed concern over the rate of traffic accidents, saying the death toll will double by 2020 if no effective preventive measures were put in place. At least five people on average are killed on Cambodian roads every day. The interior

  • Cambodian rice to lose EU duty-free status

    The Cambodian rice sector is set to lose its duty-free export status to the EU today – its major rice market – after the European bloc decided to impose tariffs on rice from Cambodia and Myanmar to curb a surge in such imports. The decision will be