MORE than 100 disgruntled workers staged a protest along National Road 2 in Meanchey district’s Chak Angre Leu commune yesterday, after local construction firm KC Gecin Enterprises allegedly dismissed 27 employees last week for attempting to form a union.
Chum Yean, 27, who was among the group of workers fired by the company last Friday, said colleagues had demanded they be reinstated immediately.
“It is an injustice that we were fired. The company discriminated against us because we were planning to set up a union,” he said.
The protest lasted into the evening, but participants said 10 commune police officials tore up their banners.
Chak Angre Leu commune chief Keo Sareoun, who accompanied the police, justified the destruction of the banners by calling the protest illegal.
“They are not allowed to rebel here,” he said.
“It causes traffic jams and is against the law because they did not ask authorities for permission to protest.”
Meoun Tola, head of the labour programme at the Community Legal Education Centre, said it was within the workers’ rights to stage a strike and called the police destruction of their banners a “human rights violation”. He also said the workers were “committed to continuing the strike tomorrow”.
“The authorities should understand Cambodian labour laws better,” he said.
Sok Sovandeth, president of the Cambodian National Federation of Building and Wood Workers, called the firings “discrimination against unions” and “a violation of Cambodian labour laws”.
Touch Sam Ul, head of administration at KC Gecin Enterprises, declined to comment.