Striking Cintri rubbish collectors will return to work on Thursday following a successful meeting with Phnom Penh municipal authorities on Wednesday.
Some workers have not decided whether to return.
Tes Rukhaphal, the secretary-general of the Committee for the Resolution of Strikes, said Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng asked all workers to return to work on Wednesday, but they asked to start on Thursday.
“Workers will go back to work. The company and the union will further mediate with workers by explaining the law,” he said.
Rukhaphal said the protest is not legal because disputes must be tackled internally first. In this case, he said the workers protested demanding various conditions while the company is still in operation.
At the meeting with Sreng, officials from the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, the company and the union decided the workers’ requests will be discussed after the contract expires.
The parties said the company, which is expected to go out of business, will take responsibility under the law and the Phnom Penh municipal administration will ensure workers don’t lose wages regardless of the company’s future.
Addressing the striking workers at the protest site in front of Cintri headquarters on Wednesday, Sreng said the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall has chosen three companies through an auction to collect waste in the future.
“We will accept you all to work at the other companies and not let you lose your jobs or other benefits,” he said.
Touch Kosal, president of the Cambodia Tourism Workers’ Union Federation, said he wants workers to return to work because the municipal hall and the company already accepted responsibility.
“We have a specific report that we can trust. In the past, we did not understand clearly who was in charge of the workers’ benefits. Now we know that Cintri and the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration is responsible for workers,” he said.
Tourism Federation secretary-general Mi Phan said on Wednesday that some workers who are cleaners agree to go back to work, but drivers and rubbish collectors have yet to decide.
“It is hard. Many workers do not agree to go back to work and they want the company to provide the compensation they requested. I want them to work because they will lose wages and other benefits if they protest for too long,” he said.
One rubbish collector by the name of Sophal said he is not happy with the solution yet, but if most workers go back to work, he will go back too.
Roughly 2,000 rubbish collectors have been on strike since October 2.