The Phnom Penh Municipal Hall is moving ahead to recruit hundreds of replacement rubbish collection workers, hire new workers and obtain 70 new trucks. However, it is still asking the striking workers to return to their jobs.
Phnom Penh Municipal Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey told The Post on Tuesday that the administration is gradually recruiting new rubbish collectors, but he could not confirm the number.
“This recruitment is flexible according to the situation in dealing with the striking workers. As of now, we are unsure as to how many workers we need to recruit. While recruiting new workers, the municipal hall is also monitoring Cintri (Cambodia) Ltd workers who are on strike,” Meas Pheakdey said.
He said the number of new workers depends on the need, but the municipal hall must ensure the cleanliness of the city as a priority.
“We cannot continue to allow people to take rubbish as a hostage to pay for illegal demands. The Phnom Penh municipal administration has tried to explain all aspects of the problem, including the labour law, to the workers who are demanding inappropriate conditions.
“The situation is not conducive to waiting further. Recruiting new labour options must be enforced to implement change and clean up the city,” Meas Pheakdey said.
He also called on workers who are on strike to wake up and stop their illegal activities.
The municipal hall is preparing hundreds of workers with about 70 vehicles to collect garbage in the capital as a temporary measure.
“The mechanism we need to solve the long-term waste problem is also nearing completion, which means that we have selected three companies to operate our garbage collection operations. We will divulge the details and make a public announcement once we choose the company.” Meas Pheakdey said.
Tourism Federation secretary-general Mi Phan said on Tuesday that the workers were still gathering in front of Cintri, accompanied by music. He said there’s no solution yet and further negotiations have not yet taken place.
Phnom Penh Municipal Department of Labour and Vocational Training director Chuon Vuthy said on Tuesday that based on meetings over the past three days, there is no solution.
“The company did not fire any workers, but the workers themselves refused to go to work. We went to meet and explain this to them, but they refused to listen to us,” Vuthy said.
Lawyer Ly Chantola told The Post on Tuesday that if you look at the labour law, there are two principles.
The first is that in the case of workers on strike, employers are prohibited from recruiting new employees to replace the strikers. But the law also states that in special cases, where the company provides services that are defined as fundamental, they must provide a minimum service.
He said a company that provides services regularly is allowed to recruit new workers to replace striking ones.
“What the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall is doing is in line with the provisions of the 1997 Labour Law,” he said.
Roughly 2,000 of Cintri’s rubbish collectors have been protesting since October 2, asking the company to address five issues, including seniority pay, compensation, compensation for prior notice in advance, last month salary and remaining annual leave.
However, on Tuesday Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng sent a message to the striking workers that the Ministry of Labour has already explained they still get new job opportunities when a new company is chosen to start garbage collection operations.