A meeting between union representatives and company representatives will be held on February 17.
Cambodia.- A new meeting has been scheduled for February 17 in a bid to end the Nagaworld labour dispute. NagaWorld union representatives and company representatives will meet for the 23rd time since NagaWorld employees went on strike on December 18 2021 over layoffs and pay cuts.
The meeting will be chaired by Tes Rukhaphal, head of the General Secretariat of the Labour Advisory Committee.
Union officials at NagaWorld are still calling for the reinstatement of laid-off workers, while the company insists it will not accept their return. According to the government, as of January 11, 255 of 373 former employees have accepted seniority payments to put an end to their employment contracts. However, 118 employees still refused to accept the payments.
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training stated: “The ministry urges the two sides to demonstrate mutual understanding in working to resolve this dispute.
“In order to maintain public order, we urge both parties to continue to work closely with the authorities in a peaceful, calm manner. In accordance with legal procedure, if the dispute cannot be resolved through mediation, the case will be referred to court.”
According to Khleang Soben, secretary-general of the Cambodian Workers’ Rights Support Union at NagaWorld, the dispute has dragged on because the ministry has a “biased” relationship with the corporation.
She also claimed that despite national and international law, workers are powerless and continue to suffer injustice.
Last 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.
Khun Tharo, programme manager for the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (CENTRAL), also criticized the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training role and stated: “The denial of union registration and a freeze on union contributions interferes with the internal affairs of unions and is prohibited by the core conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which Cambodia has ratified.”
However, the Phnom Penh Post, reported that Heng Sour, the spokesman for the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, argued “the ministry has acted in good faith” and said the resolution of labour disputes could not be focused on one individual’s arbitrary interpretation of the law.