Thousands of Election Body Workers Missing Weeks of Wages

Tens of thousands of workers contracted by the government to prepare Cambodia for the June 4 commune elections, many of whom are still waiting to be paid for work in February, will have to wait for their March and April salaries until after Khmer New Year.

The National Election Committee (NEC) made the announcement on Wednesday, but offered no explanation.

A National Election Committee worker checks identification cards of voters in 2013 at Chak Angre Krom Primary School in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district. (Lauren Crothers/The Cambodia Daily)

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said the salaries for the roughly 90,000 workers were handled by the Finance Ministry, which also hadn’t provided an explanation. He said the workers—whom the government started hiring in February at national, provincial and commune levels—should be paid in the middle of each month.

But Mr. Puthea said only national- and provincial-level workers had been paid for February, about half of all the contracted workers, and that even they only received their salaries on April 6.

He said the government had hoped to catch up by the start of Khmer New Year, which begins on Friday and ends on Sunday. Despite the delays, Mr. Puthea said the workers were not slacking and all preparations for the poll would be completed on time.

“In fact, they are working very hard and they are very patient, even though the NEC couldn’t pay them on time,” he said.

An NEC official familiar with the problem, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment to the media, said the committee has been late in getting employment records to the ministry because of workers who have quit or died.

The official said the salaries for March and April would total about $4 million.

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