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Carlsberg defends dismissals

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Beer promoters wait for customers at a restaurant in Phnom Penh. Eli Meixler

Carlsberg defends dismissals

Danish beer giant Carlsberg has defended its partner in Cambodia, Cambrew, after a food workers union accused the brewer of firing 21 union members, claiming they were bought off in an attempt to stymie the union movement.

In an email yesterday, Carlsbergs Asia corporate affairs director Steve Deng confirm some beer promotion assistants contract had been terminated but did not addressed the bribery accusations.

He said the terminations were purely business.

“Cambrew has always been in full compliance with Cambodian labour laws and regulations, and in this instance full compensation was paid in accordance to the Cambodian Labour Law,” he said.

But one of the marketers the union identified as having been let go Pov Putheara, 38, yesterday claimed he had not yet been paid; he said he was put on a list to be sacked, decided to leave, and was promised compensation by the company.

“I did not know why, but my name was on the list for firing... And we heard that it will pay compensation, but we have not got it yet” he said.

“They did not tell us the reason why they had fired us... We did not make it messy, and we quit.”

Sar Mora, president of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation, said the company’s reaction to past strikes and sackings showed their true intent.

“When we look into the real action of Cambrew, it’s clear that they are discriminating or trying to kick out the union members,” he said.

Deng stressed Cambrew, which is half-owned by Carlsberg, “takes the working conditions for its employees very seriously”.

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