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Labour department defends firing of casino employee

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
The casino workers gathered for a meeting to discuss working conditions. CUMW

The Banteay Meanchey provincial labour department issued an official letter in support of a casino that sacked an employee after the department confirmed the employee had reported false information to the media.

Last month, Om Chhayya, a worker and union official at the Grand Diamond City Casino in Poipet city, was sacked after he complained of abusive working conditions in a radio interview.

The labour department’s letter dated March 20, but obtained yesterday, agreed with the decision by the casino to fire Mr Chhayya because it found him to have broken company rules as well as reported false information to the media which affected the company’s reputation.

Ros Sarum, director of the provincial labour department, said that even though the department agreed with the casino’s decision to fire Mr Chhayya, it ordered the casino to pay any unpaid wages and other benefits to him according to the Labour Law.

“The labour department examined his case clearly and found he was really at fault with the company’s rules. However, we ordered the company to pay all his wages up until his last day at the job,” he said.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said in general that workers suffered at the hands of their employers when they were fired and were never defended by officials.

“In my years of experience, I have never seen a labour official reject a company’s decision. It means that labour officials agree with a company’s decision in nearly all cases. It’s like the company is never wrong for firing a worker,” he said.

He added he would hold a press conference soon to explain the case of Mr Chhayya, who was unfairly terminated for defending other workers over abusive labour conditions at the casino.

Prior to firing Mr Chhayya, the casino had also fired Bun Sothy as he attempted to organise a union at the workplace and file a labour condition complaint to the provincial labour department.

Late last month, the casino issued a public letter defending the terminations, arguing that the interview given by Mr Chhayya to the radio station, in which he complained of 12-hour work shifts contrary to the Labour Law and no bonuses for time worked on national holidays, was tantamount to defamation and had affected the company’s reputation.

Doung Phang, a representative of the casino, said in the letter that the accusations levelled against the casino were not true and noted that employees were prohibited from talking to the media without permission.

“The company recognises the rights and freedoms of unions, but the company also expects the legitimate rights of the company to be respected and protected because the information provided in the interview was false and affected the company’s reputation,” Ms Phang said in the letter.

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