A workers’ strike escalated on Monday at Sihanoukville’s Angkor Beer-producing Cambrew factory, protesters said, with the company acknowledging that the work stoppage was causing major disruptions.
“The protest has had a big impact on the company’s production,” said Chheng Sopheak, head of human resources at Cambrew, though he could not quantify the cost to the factory’s operations.
The company met with protesters on Saturday and the two sides were on their way to resolving the dispute, Mr. Sopheak said.
Accounts of the work stoppage were conflicting. Mr. Sopheak said 100 protesters had gathered outside the factory in the morning, with numbers dwindling to about 60 by the afternoon. A union representative, however, said there were 600 workers gathered during the peak of the protest on Monday, up from 200 over the weekend.
Ken Mao, a representative of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation, said the workers had a list of demands.
They believe a warehouse manager was wrongly sacked and want him reinstated; they want the plant’s Malaysian general manager, Y.K. Wang, dismissed due to his lack of respect for employees; they are demanding a free meal during every shift for each staff member; and they want the company to pay union membership fees, Mr. Mao said.
Lim Roth, the 45-year-old warehouse manager who workers say was unfairly dismissed after being accused of bribery, said he and the workers had no intention of backing down.
“A solution still hasn’t been found,” Mr. Roth said. “The protest will continue until a solution is found.”
Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief Chuon Narin said the workers’ protests had been peaceful so far, with no reports of violence.
Cambrew has been targeted by other protests this year, including a rally in February to stop the construction of a dam near the Laotian border being built by a businessman who also owns 50 percent of Cambrew. In May 2014, another labor strike at the brewery ended when the company agreed to raise its minimum wage.