Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Union leader wins appeal



Union leader wins appeal

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Local worker representative Khem Mao (left) and food and service unionist Sar Mora at the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court on July 21, 2017. Leonie Kijewski

Union leader wins appeal

The Appeal Court on Thursday overruled a Preah Sihanouk provincial court verdict that ordered a former union leader to pay $3,000 to Cambrew Ltd, the Sihanoukville-based brewers of Angkor Beer over a 2016 strike.

The appeal was heard on December 6. Both defendant and plaintiff were absent on Thursday when the appeal court read its verdict.

Democratic Workers Union of Angkor Beer Company president Khem Mao told the appeal judge, Nguon Im, earlier this month that he did not lead the strike held in front of the Cambrew brewery in Preah Sihanouk province on August 20, 2016.

’We protest peacefully’

Hong Sambath, Mao’s defence lawyer, said the strike was called to demand the company reinstate union leader, Lim Roth, who was dismissed. This meant Mao had nothing to do with organising the industrial action, he had merely joined the strike, he said.

“I think the appeal court overturning the ruling ordering me to pay $3,000 in compensation is fair because the company should not have filed a lawsuit against me just because I participated in a strike,” Mao told The Post on Thursday.

He told the trial judge that he did not have the means to pay $3,000 in compensation as he was a brewery worker.

Mao said the company wrongly believed him to be a member of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation, led by Sar Mora.

The company filed the lawsuit after the strike affected the company’s production and demanded Mora and Mao pay $60,000 in compensation.

Preah Sihanouk provincial court ruled that Mora had not taken part in the strike, but that Mao had, and ordered him to pay $3,000. The provincial court verdict was handed down in July last year.

Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) president Pav Sina said he believed that human rights group members, union leaders and activists do not normally receive justice from the court system.

“Union leaders and representatives protest peacefully to stop companies from violating the law and worker rights, but then they are hit with criminal cases."

“People generally think it is a waste of time to appeal to the upper [Appeal and Supreme] courts because they think they will just uphold the earlier ruling. [But this case shows they] can make different decisions in accordance with their judgement.”

Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) president Ath Thorn said it was positive that the Appeal Court had overturned the provincial court ruling.

Thorn was given a two-and-a-half year suspended sentence by Phnom Penh Municipal Court for his role in the 2013 Veng Sreng Boulevard protests.

On Tuesday Kampong Speu provincial court sentenced nine members of C.CAWDU to a year in prison each and to pay a total of 36 million riel ($9,000) in compensation over a protest.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration