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Hundreds protest over late wages

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
Hotel workers gather to protest late wages outside their workplace yesterday. KT/Siv Channa

More than 100 workers from the Great Duke Phnom Penh Hotel protested again yesterday to demand their unpaid wages and benefits.

Toch Kosal, a hotel employee and the protest leader, said this was the fifth protest since June because the hotel often fails to pay its staff on time.

“When we protest, they pay our salary, but when we are quiet, the hotel ignores us,” Mr Kosal said. “We have not yet been paid our October salary – and they don’t inform us when they will pay us late.”

The workers say wages have been paid late again and again since June. KT/Siv Channa

He said if the hotel cannot pay its employees, it should be sold so employees can have their missing salaries and benefits.

“Most of the workers who protest are conflicted because they have been employed by the hotel for nearly a decade – their seniority pay will be substantial,” Mr Kosal said. “If the hotel can’t continue to run the business, please shut down and pay our last salaries and benefits.”

“Most of their salaries are less than $100, it is too little for the hotel not to pay us,” he added. “It seems like the hotel is looking down on workers.”

Mr Kosal said if workers are not paid their dues, they will soon descend upon ministry offices in Phnom Penh to call for intervention.

Chea Bun Thon, manager of the hotel’s human resources department, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Sam Bo, a hotel worker who protested, yesterday said it would be best for the hotel to pay their missing wages and benefits so they can look for another job.

“We want the hotel to pay our salary and seniority indemnity so we can find another job instead because not paying us is affecting our lives,” Mr Bo said.

The government has previously intervened at least once to have the hotel pay employees their late wages.

Tes Rokaphal, deputy secretary-general of the Labour Ministry’s Committee for the Settlement of Strikes and Demonstrations, in September said the ministry had to send officials to mediate negotiations between hotel management and employees.

“We have communicated with the owners of the hotel and the employees and also requested that the owners of the hotel pay their employees [on time],” Mr Rokaphal said.

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