Labour Minister Ith Samheng has rejected a request by out-of-work employees in the entertainment sector to also be given the $40 aid, doled out to suspended garment and tourism workers.
On June 9, a group of entertainment sector workers petitioned to the Ministry of Labour to extend the $40 per month government allowance to them.
In their petition, they also asked the government to intervene and order landlords to reduce rentals by 50 percent while they are suspended from work.
On Wednesday, Mr Samheng sent a letter to the Cambodia Food and Service Workers Federation stating the ministry could not accept the request.
However, he said the government is preparing a special aid package for poor families whose livelihoods are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to which the entertainment sector workers would be eligible.
In the letter, Mr Samheng said the government had already suggested to landlords to delay collecting rentals from tenants whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the pandemic.
He also advised suspended workers who wish to find new jobs to contact the ministry for help.
Ou Tep Phallin, president of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation, said yesterday the workers have expressed disappointment over the response.
“The ministry’s response does not address the actual needs of the entertainment sector workers seeking assistance, for food and other daily expenses, while they are suspended from work during the coronavirus crisis,” she said.
Ms Phallin said entertainment sector workers are also part of the push to keep the country’s economy moving.
She added they also pay taxes to the state, so the state should protect them while they are out-of-work due to the pandemic.
Chak Kriya, an entertainment sector worker, said the workers regret the ministry’s refusal to help them.
“We held a protest to demand for the $40 allowance, because we need money to pay for food and room rentals. We face eviction, if we do not pay,” she said. “We also have to pay for water and electricity.”
Pov Chamrong, another worker, said they will protest again and ask the ministry to reconsider their request.
“We are also affected by the pandemic and have lost jobs, so we will petition again to seek the ministry’s help,” she said.