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Chevron dials 911 over strike

Striking Caltex employees hold placards in front of a Caltex service station yesterday in Phnom Penh to demand an increase in wages
Striking Caltex employees hold placards in front of a Caltex service station yesterday in Phnom Penh to demand an increase in wages. Vireak Mai

Chevron dials 911 over strike

Caltex's parent company Chevron Cambodia sent a letter to the National Police calling on the authorities to intervene after learning that its petrol station employees would go on strike, it was revealed yesterday.

Kirt Chantharith, National Police spokesman, said that the police received the letter from Chevron last week, and that in it the firm requested the police step in “if there is an action affecting its business
or properties”.

He added that while the police weren’t obliged to respond to a request from a private company, if strikers were deemed to have broken the law, police would intervene.

“We implement the law. We do not just act however we wish or on request. Protesting for a higher salary is the right of the staff,” Chantharith said.

“But we are keeping our eyes on them and if they act illegally or break the law, the police will protect [the company].”

Workers at Caltex stations in Phnom Penh went on strike Monday demanding a monthly pay raise to $160 and an annual bonus of $160.

Yesterday, more than 100 Caltex staff from 18 petrol stations in the capital gathered at the Bok Kou station in Chamkarmon district to demonstrate, and the workers plan to submit a petition to the US Embassy this morning.

Workers at Bok Kou station yesterday addressed passersby on megaphones, shouting “Shame on Chevron” and questioning why a US company with professed high ethical standards would offer “salaries that do not have the same standards”.

Despite the station closures, some customers were served food and drinks in the stations’ attached minimarts, prompting workers to call for a public boycott of the company until their dispute was resolved.

Deng Chetra, 30, a striking pump attendant, called on people not to shop at Caltex.

“If you use Caltex’s service right now, it means that you are helping the company. Please, stop using it temporarily until a solution is reached,” he said.

Than Chanlek, spokeswoman for Chevron Cambodia, declined to comment yesterday but in an email on Tuesday said the company was working to resolve the dispute.

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