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Naga, workers in talks over labour dispute

Naga, workers in talks over labour dispute

FOUR workers who were sacked by the NagaWorld Hotel and Casino last year met with company representatives on Monday in an attempt to settle a labour dispute that has stretched for more than a year.

Sok Narith, the vice president of the Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation (CTSWF), and one of the workers involved in the dispute, said the four had submitted a proposal outlining several scenarios under which they might return to work, though a definitive solution was not reached.

“We are waiting to see the response from the management of NagaWorld,” Sok Narith said. “We expect to have more discussions because we want to end the dispute as soon as possible.”

The four workers – Sok Narith, Leuk Phin, Pich Sovatey and Sophann Dara – are active union members belonging to a group of 14 NagaWorld employees dismissed in February of last year over what they say was a dispute about bonuses.

NagaWorld, however, says the group were dismissed as a result of poor performance.

The other 10 members of the group have since returned to work.

In Monday’s meeting, Sok Narith said the workers offered to return to work without receiving back pay.

Company representatives, however, were not convinced that the workers should be reinstated and proposed instead that the CTSWF raise money to provide them a severance package, Sok Narith added.

Kong Soklim, human resources officer at NagaWorld with resposibility for labour disputes, met with the workers on Monday but declined to comment, saying she was too busy to answer questions.

On February 16, the Secretariat of the Arbitration Council, a conflict-resolution body associated with the Ministry of Labour, issued a verdict instructing NagaWorld to allow union members to carry out their activities on company premises and to reinstate the four workers.

The company, however, has declined to abide by this non-binding ruling.

In July, NagaWorld filed a complaint with Phnom Penh Municipal Court accusing the 14 workers dismissed in February 2009 of defamation and incitement, though the court rejected the lawsuit in October.

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