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Delayed wages spark riot at Camko City building

Delayed wages spark riot at Camko City building

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Enraged workers burned a company car and damaged office equipment before being dispersed by military, police

Photo by: TRACEY SHELTON

Camko City on Monday after a riot shook the site the previous day.

MORE than three hundred angry Camko City workers rioted at the Camko City building on Monday night, demanding their late wages be paid immediately.

The workers occupied the building for two hours on Monday night, burning a company vehicle and damaging office supplies and several computers. Sok Sovandeith, president of the Cambodian National Federation of Building and Wood Workers, said that no one was injured in the riot.

"After the car was burned, the armed forces and military police were called in to crack down and disperse the protesters."

Sok Sovandeith said Camko City, which employs more than 1,000 workers, was two days late in paying wages. Employees generally receive their pay on the 25th of each month.  

"The riot was the fault of a company representative who had told the workers on the 25th that they would receive their pay by the evening of the 27th," he said. The workers' anger exploded about 7pm on the 27th as they had not eaten any food for two days, he added.

Sok Sovandeith said after an hour of protesting, 80 percent of the workers were paid on the spot, and the remainder were paid on Tuesday.

Soeung Sopheak, a worker for Chaing Ming Co at Camko City, said the late wages were a great strain on the employees, who receive only US$4 a day for their work.

"I was very angry with them because they promised to pay us on the 25th of October, and then they delayed until the 27th. Then they said we must wait one more day," he said.

Soeung Sopheak defended his actions and said rioting was the workers' last choice.

"We had no money to buy food for two days already. How can we keep working with no money for food?"

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