More than 50 of the 609 Cambodian staff at GTI Entertainment Casino and Hotel in Sihanoukville gathered to protest again on Tuesday night after a failed attempt at mediation by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.
The workers had previously been unhappy at a change in their terms of employment from long- to short-term contracts.
The casino subsequently sacked two employee leaders after they disputed the arrangement, leading a large group of staff members to protest.
Following their initial protests, ministry officials arrived and attempted to find a compromise.
It was then claimed that the casino and the employees had reached an agreement, but a large portion of staff members were unsatisfied. They said that on top of losing their long-term contracts, their salaries had now been reduced.
Staff representative Mom Phorn, who led his colleagues at the protest, told The Post on Wednesday: “After the solution proposed on Tuesday, the casino created a regulation ordering us to work for 12 hours at a reduced salary. This solution is totally unacceptable.
“Now, 60 to 80 Cambodian employees are holding a protest to demand the casino owner pays us our salaries on Wednesday, as we have no interest in working anymore. Whenever we get the salary, we will definitely stop working here.
“Now, there is no solution. We have been protesting without rest from 8pm on Tuesday until 2am today.
“We don’t know what solution we can achieve unless the Department of Labour comes to solve the problem again,” Phorn said.
He said the staff members were refusing to work until the issues were resolved.
“The deal made on Tuesday was unacceptable because the new terms required staff such as dealers and waiters to work for eight hours for a $192 salary.
“If they work four hours of overtime, they could earn about $400. But previously, staff were paid between $420 and $520.
“Now, all the staff have stopped working in order to protest because the salary is too low.
“When we firstly started work, the casino owner said general staff were required to work for 12 hours a day for $420 to $520 a month.
“However, our salary was decreased to $300 when the ministry officials came to solve the problem with the casino. We cannot accept such solution,” Phorn said.
Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour told The Post on Wednesday that the provincial department was still proceeding with the case.
“Labour laws have scope to apply all over the country, and these workers are protected by the Labour Law. We invite people to inform the department or the ministry if there is any dispute or breach of their rights,” he said.
Preah Sihanouk provincial Department of Labour director Yov Khemara claimed the department official had already solved the problem on Tuesday night, so he was unsure why the protest continued into Wednesday or what the casino employees were demanding.
“We, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and the Department of Labour, are neutral parties. We are only mediators.
“Finding a compromise depends on the staff and the casino owner, we have no right decide for them.
“On the other hand, if it’s related to working conditions, if the company does not make any changes, we will conduct a special inspection,” he said.
The Post has not yet been able to locate the owner or a representative of the casino for comment.
According to its website, GTI Entertainment Casino and Hotel is the largest licensed casino in Sihanoukville.