Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NagaWorld strikers fired en masse

NagaWorld strikers fired en masse

NagaWorld casino employees strike.
NagaWorld employees strike in front of the casino in Phnom Penh last Tuesday. hong menea

NagaWorld strikers fired en masse

NAGAWORLD casino has fired more than 400 workers who have spent about 10 days striking to demand a wage increase, union leaders, workers and a leaked internal memo have revealed.

A list of names, obtained by the Post yesterday, was emailed to management and senior staff at the casino from a human resources manager on Wednesday, just hours after 19 strikers were detained during a police and security crackdown outside the casino.

The email was marked of high importance and identified staff from a range of departments who had “been involved in the illegal strike against the Company. The Company has therefore terminated/suspended their contracts”.
Sok Narith, vice president of The Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation (CTSWF), said hundreds of workers will resume strikes outside NagaWorld today to protest their sackings, which had come by way of text message and email.

“They’re using this message to threaten the strikers into thinking they have to return to work without any demands or they have lost their jobs,” he said. “But we will strike against the company until it respects the Labour Law and implements orders of the Arbitration Council.”

Workers disputes at NagaWorld have been the subject of five Arbitration Council hearings since early 2009.

Chhim Sitha, vice president of casino’s in-house union, said she received a message on Wednesday informing her she had been fired, prior to negotiations between government officials and worker representatives.
“The company accused us of making an illegal strike,” she said. “So I sent the message to Ministry of Labour officials to intervene.”

Sitha said last Tuesday that workers had begun striking on June 13, demanding the minimum wage in the casino be increased to $150 per month and had sensed management was trying to replace them.
“During the strikes, the company has no right to employ new staff, but the company has made an announcement on new jobs,” she said. “Some people have said [advertisements] were in the newspaper,” she said.
Dave Welsh, country manager for Solidarity Center/ACILS, said NagaWorld did not have grounds to sack the workers and had used such internal memos to threaten strikers in the past.

“They would have to be fired for cause – and there was no cause,” he said. “If they’re using the reason that the strike was illegal, it wasn’t illegal. There was notice given.”

Labour problems at NagaWorld dated back a number of years, Welsh added.

“There’s a pattern . . . of politically connected foreign-owned companies engaging in rampant abuse and being able to get away with it.”
The termination list was sent the morning after security guards – backed by police – cracked down on hundreds of workers carrying out a peaceful strike in parkland opposite the casino.
The security guards dismantled the strikers’ tents and detained 19 workers
and union leaders who refused to be moved.
The detainees, 11 of whom were women, were released without charge on Tuesday night.
A representative from NagaWorld requested yesterday that questions be emailed to her but did not provide answers by press time.

Khieu Savuth, the deputy director of the Ministry of Labour’s dispute department, said that he considered the memo to workers “informal” and not threatening.

“However, I urge the company not to fire the strikers and for the workers to stop striking. Both sides should resume negotiations,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • EU officials: Ending EBA an 18-month procedure

    EU officials have confirmed that it will take a total of 18 months to complete the procedure if Cambodia’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement is to be withdrawn. According to EU Agriculture and Rural Development spokesman Daniel Rosario, the formal process has not

  • IPU slams government claim

    The president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Gabriela Cuevas Barron, has refuted a claim by the National Assembly that she “highly appreciated the achievements of Cambodia” in its July national elections with a tweet saying “Of course not!” before adding “No congratulations”. A delegation from

  • Conflict lingers on Paris Accords

    As the Kingdom prepares to commemorate on October 23 the 27th anniversary of the signing of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, which ushered in an end to nearly two decades of civil war, there is political conflict on whether the tenets of the agreement are still being

  • EU agrees VN trade deal despite rights concerns

    The EU on Wednesday agreed to a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Vietnam, a country described as having a “major rights-abusing government”. This comes amid the 28-nation bloc preparing the procedure for a possible withdrawal of Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential trade agreement on