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Cintri drivers, waste collectors stay on strike

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Officers and residents throw rubbish into a truck in the capital’s Meanchey district. Hean Rangsey

Cintri drivers, waste collectors stay on strike

The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration reiterated its call for Cintri (Cambodia) Ltd waste collection workers and drivers to get back to work, saying a continuation of the illegal protests could cause them to lose benefits.

In an announcement released on Monday, it said only street sweepers had returned to work on Saturday.

“In the case that people get back to work, the municipal administration still ensures the same offers mentioned in the meeting on October 7,” the announcement said.

At the October 7 meeting, officials ensured Cintri workers would be offered jobs at other waste companies in the future should Cintri cease its operations.

To address the waste problem while the strike continues, the municipal administration has taken measures by using forces in each commune and employing various tactics to collect rubbish in the capital.

Municipal governor Khuong Sreng said last Friday that the municipal hall can manage rubbish collection even though the new waste collectors do not have experience.

On their first day collecting rubbish, forces from the municipal hall collected about 300 tonnes. But the new workers do not yet have the skill to drive rubbish trucks on high and slippery landfills.

Sreng said: “On average, Phnom Penh produces over 2,885 tonnes of rubbish per day. Waste collectors and drivers can collect 2,000 tonnes of rubbish per day. I therefore no longer have concerns about this. There are also people taking part in collecting rubbish in 14 districts and 105 communes in Phnom Penh because they understand the environmental problem in the city.”

Three months ago, the municipal hall provided China-made motorcycles to 105 communes in 14 districts in the capital. One commune was given two motorcycles in preparation for collecting rubbish on small roads. The motorcycles were donated because Sreng predicted that rubbish collection workers would one day protest.

On Sunday, the municipal hall also received six rubbish transport trucks from Osaka, Japan, through Cambodian ambassador to Japan Ung Rachana and the Japanese embassy in Phnom Penh.

The municipal hall’s Facebook page said: “The Phnom Penh municipal administration received six rubbish transport trucks from our friend Japan. The municipal administration would like to profoundly thank Japan for these gifts.”

Mi Phan, the secretary-general of Cintri’s Tourism Federation, told The Post that workers had still refused to return to work although the municipal hall renewed its call.

“Workers still demand that the company address two points, namely seniority indemnity and annual allowances. The company set a clear date to pay these for them,” he said.

Phan added that the workers had demanded five points but had reduced them to two. If the company agrees to the two points, they would return to work.

Touch Kosal, president of the Cambodian Tourism Workers’ Union Federation, said rubbish collection workers continued protesting on Monday.

“I also requested all brothers and sisters to return to work and request the Phnom Penh municipal governor to do something to respect what was discussed in the [October 7] meeting. They have the right to protest because they are not satisfied [with working conditions],” he said.

According to the minutes of the meeting on resolving the strike on October 7, the workers requested the company to address the points when their contracts end.

The company agreed to address them according to the Labour Law and the municipal administration took responsibility for their contracts.

The municipal administration assured workers that they would not lose their jobs in the future regardless if Cintri continues to be the city’s waste collector or not.

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