Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Labour ministry to mediate in dispute over casino layoffs

Labour ministry to mediate in dispute over casino layoffs

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Laid-off NagaWorld employees protest in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district on December 21. YOUSOS APDOULRASHIM

Labour ministry to mediate in dispute over casino layoffs

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour said the ministry would continue to mediate disputes between local integrated resort operator NagaWorld Ltd and its laid-off employees to find a solution, though the two parties can choose to settle it through the courts if there is no agreement.

Former NagaWorld employees demonstrated for a 10th consecutive day on December 27 in front of the company’s flagship casino complex, demanding the reinstatement of 365 dismissed employees and an end to alleged discrimination against union members after they were let go from their jobs in 2020, with the business citing the Covid-19 crisis as the reason behind the lay-offs.

Heng Sour told The Post on December 27 that under Cambodian labour laws, the ministry has the role of mediating and reconciling labour disputes between employers and employees but the reconciliation ultimately depends on whether the parties to the disputes agree to terms.

“In cases where there is no reconciliation among the parties, they have to file a complaint with the courts as a last resort. The ministry will continue to fulfil its duties within the scope of the labour laws. As of December 27, I don’t know the who received severance pay, but I know that each individual was offered some amount of compensation for their respective consideration,” he said.

In a press release on December 23, the ministry said it would continue to mediate and settle labour disputes between NagaWorld’s representative Mike Ngai and former staff represented by Chhim Sithor and their attorney, Ham Sunrith.

According to the press release, the two sides had not reached an agreement to the dispute. The company said it would not adjust the formula used to calculate severance pay for 85 workers who agreed to accept that pay and an end to their employment while foregoing all future claims against them as stated in the law. The company also refused to reinstate the workers, who continue to protest.

However, the representatives for the workers demanded a package settlement, requiring that the company reinstate the protesting workers first before calculating severance payment for those 85 workers, as required according to the law. This would increase the amount of severance those 85 workers were eligible to receive.

Chhim Sokhon, secretary of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees (LRSU) of NagaWorld, told The Post on December 27 that if a solution cannot be found through the arbitration council, all protesting workers would continue their non-violent demonstrations demanding a solution.

She added the workers expected the company to reinstate them and stop discriminating against the union and the reinstatement would also show that the company obeys the law.

“On the union side, we’ve opted to carry out a peaceful strike until there is a solution. We see that our dismissal is unusual because most of the 365 workers are union members, activists and even union leaders. It is obvious that the company wishes to destroy the union,” Sokhon said.

Moeun Tola, executive director of the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (Central), said NagaWorld should end the dispute as soon as possible by reinstating them rather than continue to recruit new and inexperienced employees.

He said he also hoped that relevant institutions would speed up the resolution process and deal with the dispute as soon as possible for the employees to avoid further protests.

NagaWorld representatives could not be reached for comment on December 27.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Pailin longan winery tries to break through to the big time

    Longan aren’t quite as glamorous as some fruits. They don’t have the star-power of mangos or generate the excitement of a pricey seasonal niche fruit like the pungent durian. Unlike bananas or oranges, which are known and loved everywhere, longan remains a decidedly

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’

  • Debt restructuring over, time to tackle rising NPL ratio

    The Cambodian banking system has just completed a 26-month debt restructuring exercise where scores of loan accounts were revised, classified and provisioned as the rate of non-performing loans inched up, sparking a slight credit risk unease Implemented in April 2020, the Covid-19 debt restructuring measures came

  • Koh Slaket studio resort brings culture with style

    Davitra (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s multi-million-dollar 13ha Koh Slaket studio-cum-resort just east of the capital was inaugurated in the first phase on August 6, providing national and international tourists with a new travel option and job opportunities for locals. The man-made cultural and scenic lakefront getaway