New clashes between police and NagaWorld workers during strikes

Protests against NagaWorld started in December last year.
Protests against NagaWorld started in December last year.

Authorities clashed with some 100 former casino workers, mostly women, who were demanding to be reinstated.

Cambodia.- The conflict involving former NagaWorld employees continues in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Pen. According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), during a protest against the company held yesterday (August 11), nearly 100 former casino workers, mostly women, were injured by police officers. 

One woman reported that a police officer broke her nose during the clash while many others said they were beaten.

NagaWorld employees went on 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. Government-mediated negotiations with the casino operator have failed to bear fruit.

A former worker named Sun Sreynich told RFA: “We were kneeling in front of the security forces and begging to be allowed to go to the NagaWorld building, but they assumed we were attacking them and fought us.”

Following 15 minutes of physical confrontation, the two sides resumed a verbal conflict across the barricade. The former workers eventually left the area at around 5pm. In a statement following the incident, the Phnom Penh government accused protesters of orchestrating the clash in order to attack the reputation of the authorities.

The statement said: “They created an event to put the blame on the government, inciting and provoking anger by cursing and insulting public officials before smashing 20 barricades and using violence against security forces who tried to block their path.”

Earlier on Thursday, about 50 former Nagaworld workers and union officials filed a petition with the labour ministry urging authorities to drop charges against Cambodian Federation of Trade Unions president Yang Sophorn, who was accused of organising the protests.

The petition also called for a meeting with labour minister Ith Samheng to find a solution to the dispute. NagaWorld Union president Chhim Sithaw met with Labor Department officials but told Radio Free Asia she was “disappointed” with their response, although she gave no details of the topics discussed.

About 100 NagaWorld workers had already written to the Cabinet of Prime Minister Hun Sen and to the National Assembly to request their intervention in the dispute. However, the Ministry of Labor has mediated 13 times already in an attempt to reach a solution and has been unsuccessful.

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