Cambodia: NagaWorld union leader arrested

NagaWorld employees went on strike on December 18 2021.
NagaWorld employees went on strike on December 18 2021.

Union leader Chhim Sithar was detained after returning from a trade union conference in Australia.

Cambodia.- Police have arrested a union leader who has been involved in leading strikes at the NagaWorld casino resort in Phnom Penh for almost a year. UCA News reports that Chhim Sithar was arrested after returning from a a 12-day trade union conference in Australia. She has reportedly sent to a correctional facility for violating bail conditions after her release from pre-trial detention earlier this year.

Human rights group Licadho claimed that neither Sithar nor her lawyers were informed of any judicial supervision or probation conditions, such as travel restrictions. A week ago, New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report claiming that “under Prime Minister Hun Sen, Cambodia had openly repressed the labour movement, along with the political opposition, the media, and other civil society activism.”

The Phnom Penh Post, reported that Heng Sour, the spokesman for the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, claimed the report was inaccurate.

In October, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training issued a statement denying that it was responsible for stalled negotiations over the Nagaworld labour dispute. The ministry responded after being accused of inaction and indifference to the drawn-out conflict.

NagaWorld employees began their strike on December 18 2021 in protest against NagaCorp’s layoffs and pay cuts that aimed to improve cost efficiency due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to authorities, as of November 26, 249 of the 373 employees have accepted seniority payments to put an end to their employment contracts with the company. However, 124 employees still refuse to accept the payments.

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