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Carlsberg defends its partner in labour row

Angkor beer promotion workers protest outside the company’s headquarters in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district last month.
Angkor beer promotion workers protest outside the company’s headquarters in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district last month. Hong Menea

Carlsberg defends its partner in labour row

Brewing giant Carlsberg has denied accusations that Cambrew, which brews Angkor beer and is half-owned by the Danish beer conglomerate, illegally fired 11 beer promoters for striking against longer working hours and fixed-term contracts.

In a response issued on Tuesday, Carlsberg claimed that 11 beer sellers who said they were fired on January 21 for going on strike had in fact refused to sign their latest one-year fixed contracts beforehand. Carlsberg also said that Cambrew conducted extensive talks with unions about the decision to shift working hours until 11pm.

“The working hours were changed due to current market demand in Phnom Penh and by request from the company’s customers, restaurant, bar and event owners,” the statement reads.

But Sar Mora, president of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation, which represents the strikers, slammed Carlsberg’s statement.

Mora said the 11 sellers had already worked for Cambrew for more than two years under fixed contracts, entitling them to permanent contracts under the Labour Law, one of the main reasons the dispute began.

Mora also blasted Cambrew’s claim it consulted unions, since Cambrew’s majority union is pro-employer and is not seen by the CFSWF as independent.

“Are they legitimate?” Mora asked rhetorically.

The dispute is currently at the Arbitration Council. A verdict is due at the end of the month.

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