Food worker unionist Sar Mora appeared before the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court on Friday after his federation was slapped with a $60,000 lawsuit by Carlsberg’s partner company Cambrew in relation to a strike last August in Sihanoukville that disrupted its production.
About 100 workers from the warehouse and packaging and distribution lines went on a five-day strike last year after warehouse manager Lim Roath was fired, with workers demanding his reinstatement and instead asking for the firing of the factory’s Malaysian-Chinese manager for unfair treatment.
Mora, who is the president of the Cambodia Food and Service Worker Federation (CFSWF), said the plaintiff’s lawyers did not specify the exact charges being used to sue the union, with the case set to go to trial on March 23. “They just want to harass the union, undermine us and pressure the workers to be scared,” he said.
He added that some of his union members were part of the strike, but noted that CSFWF was only monitoring the strike and did not instigate it.
Cambrew is part-owned by Danish conglomerate Carlsberg and produces Angkor, Carlsberg, Bayon, Klang and Black Panther beers. Alan Yeo, vice president of Cambrew, refused to comment on the case, and other senior staffers could not be reached.
Moeun Tola, head of labour rights group Central, said the law only allowed court injunctions to end illegal strikes – those without a majority vote or failure to notify employers – calling the suit “ridiculous”.