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Protest at Swedish Embassy

Protest at Swedish Embassy

Some 20 Cambodian workers who say they were ripped off by a company they worked for in Sweden gathered at the country’s embassy in Phnom Penh yesterday to ask for assistance.

The temporary employees of Skogsvardsarbetare hos Botnia Skong AB, who worked there between April to October of last year say the tree-planting company underpaid them for their first three months of work, workers representative Sar Ponleu, 28, said yesterday. After they returned to Cambodia, company representatives claimed they had declared bankruptcy, and could not pay them for their second three months.

“When we returned to Cambodia, the company suddenly announced to the Ministry of Labour in Sweden that they were bankrupt, circumventing their payment of workers’ remaining wages,” Ponleu said.

Community Legal Education Center labour department head Moeun Tola, who is helping the 74 aggrieved workers, said that there is no evidence that Skogsvardsarbetare declared bankruptcy. If they did, Tola said, they are still required to pay workers for services rendered.

But Hang Keopiseth, brother-in-law to company owner Eric Gustav Ingermar Persson, said that measures are being taken to repay the former employees.

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