The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training said three more laid-off NagaWorld employees had accepted severance pay, following several protests.

This brings the total number of former employees who have taken the settlements to 239, with 134 still holding out and pursuing their protest against the integrated casino resort.

“The National Employment Agency is ready to assist them in looking for new job opportunities,” the ministry said in a September 3 press release.

The settlement mechanism – and assistance searching for work – is in accordance with the guidelines set by Minister of Interior Sar Kheng and the labour ministry, from whom the workers asked for intervention.

Cambodian Labour Confederation president Ath Thorn said that because the protests over the past several months had not achieved the desired results, more former employees had decided to accept the payment offered to avoid a financial crisis. Some claimed that they were also threatened, so they decided to accept compensation from NagaWorld, he added.

“I think this solution is appropriate for those who agree to it, although some of them accepted the compromise because they could not stand the economic pressure while some said they were threatened. Regardless, the protests have lasted too long,” he said.

The labour ministry had asked the company and employees to negotiate an agreeable solution many times, but there had been no positive results. Neither the employees’ representatives nor the company’s representatives could agree on terms.

The protests began in April last year, after the company announced the lay-off of about 1,239 employees, citing a financial crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The protesters argued that the dismissals were an attempt by their employers to eliminate independent unions, contrary to labour laws and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) collective agreement. Most of the dismissed employees were union leaders, union activists or delegates, they said.