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Unpaid wages prompt Sihanoukville protest

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
Casino workers gather at the hotel. KPS News

Nearly a hundred employees of Sihanoukville’s Hao Cheng Hotel and Casino yesterday staged a protest over outstanding February wages.

One of the employees, Srey Noch, said she along with some staffers did not receive their salaries on March 10, which was the supposed pay date. She said the company later promised to pay wages on March 15 but failed to deliver.

“We tried to keep working for the company but they kept delaying our pay. They don’t understand how we feel as workers. We need our salaries to support our daily living,” said Ms Noch.

Another employee who refused to be named said the company also announced the termination of four staffers without giving due reason, spurring fear among the other employees.

“We felt anxious when our colleagues were fired. Some of them didn’t even get paid. Some of us are also fearful of the coronavirus. Their parents have been telling them to go back to their hometowns,” said the employee.

A company representative said the company manager has already tried reaching out to the protesting employees. She noted that since the pandemic began, the hotel and casino has seen fewer foot traffic thus causing financial losses to the company.

“The manager told them a protest would not solve the problem. The company’s working towards giving them their wages so they need to stay calm and give the company some time to find a solution,” said the representative, adding the company found it difficult to cover the arrears on time as some staffers have expressed their desire to stop working immediately and return to their provinces due to the health crisis.

Regarding the alleged wrongful termination of four employees, she said they were not laid off but were temporarily suspended and would be called back to work once the COVID-19 pandemic abates.

Earlier this week, nearly a hundred employees of Sihanoukville’s Yaduoli casino likewise held a protest over unpaid wages. Upon negotiation, the company announced the employees would be paid by March 25.

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