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Ex-Capitol Bus drivers to resume their protest

Union leader Ath Thorn speaks at press conference yesterday in Phnom Penh where former Capitol bus drivers said they would continue to protest.
Union leader Ath Thorn speaks at press conference yesterday in Phnom Penh where former Capitol bus drivers said they would continue to protest. Pha Lina

Ex-Capitol Bus drivers to resume their protest

Fired Capitol bus drivers said yesterday they would launch a fresh round of protests on Friday outside the bus company’s offices near O’Russey Market, again demanding reinstatement of 45 bus drivers and permission for them to unionise.

The 45 drivers were sacked in December for attempting to form a union, with the bus company maintaining the firings were for alleged breaches of company policy such as picking up passengers while mid-route. Five drivers were fired for similar reasons last July.

The drivers have conducted multiple protests since then and were brutally beaten up by members of a tuk-tuk drivers association with a chequered past in February.

Ieng Kimhun, secretary-general at the Cambodian Transportation Worker Federation, said attempts by the ministry to arbitrate the Capitol dispute in August had failed, leaving the drivers with no option but to resume their protests.

“During previous protests, we have been intimidated and beaten, but we will never give up,” he said at a press conference in Phnom Penh.

Capitol’s general manager, Phan Sopheap, said the drivers were “not telling the truth” and refused to comment further.

At the same press conference, Cambodian Labour Confederation legal officer Nin Kosal said the group would consider strikes at Cambodia’s three international airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville for firing workers last year who were trying to unionise and for unfair wage practices.

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