NagaWorld Workers on Strike After Firings
By | February 27, 2013

More than 500 workers from Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld Casino demonstrated on Monday, in what was their fourth straight day of strike action in front of the casino over wages and the firing of four staff members.

Sok Narith, deputy secretary general of the Cambodian Tour­ism and Service Workers Federation, said the workers had been on strike since Friday after four NagaWorld employees in the food and beverage section of the casino were fired.

“Actually, we don’t want to protest, but the company continues with abusive working conditions and firing staff without reason,” said Mr. Narith. “The workers are very angry because injustice still occurs.”

He said the workers want all staff, some of whom get paid as little as $80 per month, to be paid at least $150 per month.

NagaWorld did not respond to requests for comment. The casino is owned by the Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp Ltd., which saw its profits grow by nearly a quarter to $113.1 million in 2012.

Mr. Narith said the walkout was sparked by a series of firings seen as unfair by workers, and that staff also demanded the firing of three managers who they say are responsible.

A senior staff member in the casino’s VIP section, Kong Thida, and supervisor Peng Rany were fired on January 10. Em Chanthol, manager of the food and beverage section, and his as­sistant, Chat Sinchey, were fired on February 22.

Mr. Chanthol, 34, said he was accused of “colluding” with a sub­ordinate who gave 11 bottles of water away to guests, adding that the manager who fired him, a Pakistani national, had a bad relationship with staff.

Ms. Rany, who had worked at the casino for 10 years, said she was fired after being accused of “fraud” after switching a shift with Ms. Thida.

“I came here to find justice, because the company fired me without good reason,” she said.

Moeun Tola, head of the Community Legal Education Center’s labor program, noted that NagaWorld had not seen any repercussions after it allegedly breached the Labor Law in 2009 when it fired 14 union representatives arbitrarily.

“There was no punishment for that company. So they just do it again,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Simon Lewis)

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