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Protest grows outside Siem Reap town hotel

Former employees of the Victoria Angkor Resort protest in front of the hotel in Siem Reap province yesterday.
Former employees of the Victoria Angkor Resort protest in front of the hotel in Siem Reap province yesterday. Thik Kaliyann

Protest grows outside Siem Reap town hotel

A protest at the Victoria Angkor Resort in Siem Reap entered its ninth day yesterday as about 90 staff gathered to demonstrate in front of the high-end hotel after recent negotiations broke down.

The protesters reiterated their demands to reinstate 17 employees fired in September and October last year following union elections and for Ronan Bianchi, the hotel’s general manager, whom they blame for the firings, to be dismissed.

Despite the attendance of provincial governor Khim Bun Song, negotiations on Monday failed to produce an acceptable outcome in the dispute, leading directly to the protest, said Morm Rithy, president of the Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation.

“We will not stop until there is a good solution for us,” he said, adding that a “huge” protest was planned for Monday.

In December, the Arbitration Council, which acts to resolve labour disputes but has no power to enforce its rulings, concluded across two cases that 11 of the 17 fired workers be reinstated, with the remaining 6 offered termination compensation.

It also rejected the workers’ demands to dismiss the manager and CEO of the hotel.

However, the hotel has so far refused to reinstate the workers and deems their union illegal.

“We cannot take the 17 back, but we will continue to employ the staff that joined the protest,” said Kao Soupha, lawyer for the hotel.

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