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Case of ‘fled’ casino owner pending

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Casino workers seek intervention in Preah Sihanouk province on Tuesday after their employer fled. Fresh News

Case of ‘fled’ casino owner pending

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour said officials from the Department of Labour are still working on the case of a Chinese employer in Preah Sihanouk province who ran away without paying the workers’ wages.

He said ministry officials were also putting up the company’s property for sale to compensate the workers, but a union official said the company’s debts should be settled first.

On Tuesday evening, Chinese and Cambodian employees who worked at the Diamond C Branch II casino in Preah Sihanouk province’s Commune 3 sought police intervention to help solve the case after their employer ran away without paying their wages.

Sour told The Post on Wednesday that specialists from the provincial Department of Labour had arrived at the casino to investigate. He said if all foreign and Cambodian workers had legitimate employment contracts, the ministry would solve the case for them.

“The department of labour is doing the work and coordinating the case. In principle, if it is a case of [a business] going bankrupt, we will apply the Law on Bankruptcy. We will make a list of company property to seize and pay compensation to the workers,” he said.

Sihanoukville police chief Pol Phosda told The Post briefly on Wednesday that after the workers protested, labour department officials arrived to look into the case. He said since the protest ended, the officials have been working on procedures to solve it.

“Officials from the Department of Labour are the ones to resolve work-related matters. I believe the matter has been resolved as the workers have stopped protesting,” he said.

Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) president Pav Sina said the department’s decision to put up the company’s property for sale could be a lengthy process. The workers, he said, will have to wait a long time and without an income too.

“It takes a long time for the company’s property to be sold before the workers can be paid. The process is complex, so the state must have funds to compensate the workers first.

“If the money is spent in accordance with the law, the state can use it to compensate the workers first. Later, we fill in the procedural forms to sell and handle [the company’s property] to relieve the workers’ burden,” he said.

Sina attributed the reason a lot of casinos and companies in the province closed down to two factors – the ban on online gambling and foreigners being banned from 10 job categories.

But despite the job ban having been lifted, many foreigners, especially Chinese nationals had already returned to their country of origin, he said.

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