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Cintri rubbish collectors told to get back to work

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Rubbish on a street in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district. Waste collectors have been ordered to returned to work on Monday. Hean Rangsey

Cintri rubbish collectors told to get back to work

The Phnom Penh municipal administration has ordered Cintri rubbish collectors to end a strike immediately and return to work on Monday.

However, the strikers said they would not return to work unless they get an acceptable solution to their demands.

Nearly 2,000 striking workers on Friday, demanded the company address their requests concerning benefits such as payments related to seniority, damages, prior-notice payments and annual leave.

Phnom Penh municipal administration head Huot Hay said on Saturday the demands are not in line with the Labour Law.

“The Labour Law states that the demands are for when a company shuts down. But obviously, the company didn’t end its work and is operating as normal,” Hay said.

The municipal hall notification states: “Cintri workers, please stop the strike. Don’t use rubbish as a hostage tool to make illegal demands.

“Workers have to return to rubbish collection services as normal by Monday, October 5. Otherwise, the Phnom Penh municipal administration will announce the recruitment of new workers,” it said.

Hay said the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall could not comment on a bidding process for new rubbish collection companies.

Tourism Federation Secretary-General Mi Phan the told The Post on Sunday that workers haven’t backed down from their demands.

Phan said they won’t return to work on the orders of the Phnom Penh municipal administration because there is not yet a solution for them.

He said the demands were made after workers received information that the municipal hall is opening bidding to three new rubbish collection companies. The bidding has workers worried the company is shutting down.

“We will continue negotiating to reach a consensus. If there is an acceptable assurance from the municipal hall or the company they will return to work,” he said.

Three types of workers went on strike – rubbish truck workers, cart pushers and road sweepers.

Phan said the company, the Tourism Federation, the municipal administration and district officials met to negotiate on Saturday but it came to nothing.

The parties will meet again on Monday.

“The workers know about the difficulties for citizens and the environmental impact when there is rubbish all over the place. But their demands are part of the Labour Law and they fear they will lose their benefits when there is a new rubbish collection company,” Phan said.

Cintri representative Nguon Sipheng told The Post on Sunday that the rubbish collection workers protested because there is no solution and negotiations will take place on Monday.

The Phnom Penh Waste Management Authority (PPWMA) called on all citizens to pack and place rubbish properly to avert rubbish piles in the capital.

The Phnom Penh municipal administration is cooperating with 14 district administrations, 105 commune administrations and two sanitation agents per commune to intervene in collecting rubbish in Phnom Penh.

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