The Arbitration Council is expected to release a decision today ordering the Raffles-owned Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap to rehire most of the 209 workers it fired in April, two sources familiar with the decision said Wednesday.
“The Arbitration Council made a decision. Most of the workers are allowed to go back to work,” one of the sources said.
About 20 of the unionized employees, however, cannot return to work because they did not attempt to register their names in a hotel employee log book after an April 8 Siem Reap Provincial Court decision ordered the strikers to report to work within 48 hours, the sources said, on condition of anonymity for fear of disrupting the arbitration process.
Though police and security guards prevented most employees from signing the log book, which was located inside the hotel, the Arbitration Council decided the hotel must reinstate the workers that came to the hotel and tried to sign the book, the sources said.
The Grand Hotel d’Angkor fired 209 striking employees on April 17, charging that workers ignored the Siem Reap court’s decision ordering them to return to work.
Pat Sambo, the hotel’s union leader, said Wednesday that only 21 workers successfully signed the log book.
“Lots of police were deployed to prevent workers from registering their names in the log book,” he said. “The Arbitration Council should order the hotel to reinstate all of the workers, not just most of them, because all tried their best to register.”
Arbitration Council Judge An Nan and Secretary-General Thor Bunthorn declined to comment Wednesday. Riaz Mahmood, the hotel’s manager, said late Wednesday that he had not heard anything from the Council and declined to comment.
Union leaders were uncertain whether the Grand Hotel d’Angkor would rehire any of the workers since the Raffles-owned Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh opposed the Council’s ruling to take back 97 fired workers in June.
“Before the Arbitration Council ordered Raffles to take back all the workers at the Hotel Le Royal, but this time it ruled that they take back most of the workers, so I don’t think the Grand will accept the workers back,” said Ly Korm, president of the Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation.
Pat Sambo said he had “no confidence” in the hotel and said the international community should continue to pressure Raffles so the fired workers can have their jobs back.
“The workers are facing a difficult time because they don’t have a job for almost four months already,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a ruling issued Wednesday, the Arbitration Council ordered the MiCasa Hotel Apartments to reinstate four union members who were fired in March. The hotel must pay their salaries from when they were fired until they go back to work.
“The decision is not fair,” said Seng Vuoch Hun, MiCasa’s lawyer. “They may think the hotel fired the employees because they joined a union, but that’s absolutely not true. They were fired because they had many faults.” she added.
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