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Siem Reap airport workers on strike

Security guards form a human wall in front of the Siem Reap International Airport yesterday morning as more than 100 airport workers protest
Security guards form a human wall in front of the Siem Reap International Airport yesterday morning as more than 100 airport workers protest. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Siem Reap airport workers on strike

More than 100 workers at Siem Reap International Airport protested yesterday in a strike sparked by management’s alleged hiring of non-union employees and other actions contrary to a March collective-bargaining agreement.

Cambodia Airport Management Services, part of the firm that runs the airport in Siem Reap province, breached its agreement with the Cambodia Tourism Industry Worker Trade Union (CTIWTU), union president Ron Ravann said, citing the hiring of outside employees and consistently forcing employees to perform tasks outside their job descriptions.

“The company has violated our agreement by hiring people from another place to work at the company, and ordered us to work in positions that were not part of our jobs,” Ravann said yesterday. “We cannot stand for what they did.”

Striking workers at the management service, which employs a total of about 500 people, will not return to their jobs until demands are met, union activist Bun Sim said yesterday.

In addition to changes to the company’s hiring and assignment practices, union workers are demanding increased salaries for ground service equipment drivers, subsidised meals and the firings of operation manager Sorn Sarom and human resources manager Phong Socheat.

Strikers are also demanding the reinstatement of Nin Kosal, CTIWTU’s secretary general at the Siem Reap airport.

The dispute dates to last year, but only recently came to a head when the company broke its bargaining agreement with CTIWTU, Sin said.

“The Airport Management Services normally ordered us to work many jobs,” Sim said. “They never think about our safety or our rights.”

Airport officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Provincial Labour Department chief Sokhom Cheta said yesterday that company managers would meet with Siem Reap’s provincial governor this morning to discuss the matter.

“[Managers] will discuss the strike with the governor during a meeting at Siem Reap Provincial Hall [Tuesday] at 8:30am,” Cheta said.

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