Angkor Park Workers Plan Protests Next Month

A construction union plans to hold demon­stra­tions in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap next month in the hope of getting the authorities to ad­­­dress the claims of res­toration workers at the Angkor Ar­cheolo­gi­cal Park, Cambodian Con­struc­tion Workers Trade Union Fed­er­a­­tion President Rath Rot Mony said Thursday.

CCWTUF workers want the Ap­sara Authority, the government agency that manages Angkor, and two Japanese teams—the Japan­ese Government Team for Safe­guard­ing Angkor and the Sophia Angkor International Mission, both involved in monument res­tor­a­tion, to recognize their union, im­plement standard practices and  increase wages.

Following a 30-minute sit-in on Jan 12, union representatives met Tuesday with Minister of Labor and Vocational Training Nhep Bun­­chin and with Teruo Jinnai, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cul­­tural Organization officer in charge.

Nhep Bunchin told them to file an official complaint against the three organizations. “After we re­ceive the complaint, I will send in­spectors to investigate,” Nhep Bun­­chin said.

Jinnai said that he told the union representatives that Unesco does not have the expertise nor the man­date to intervene in union conflicts. Since Unesco serves as sec­re­­tar­iat for the International Co­or­d­­in­ating Committee of Ang­kor, it will forward to the ICC any official letter received, Jinnai said.

Co-chaired by Japanese Am­bas­sa­dor Fumiaki Takahashi and French Ambassador Yvon Roe d’Albert, the ICC oversees activities at Angkor in cooperation with Ap­sara, whose president is De­pu­ty Prime Minister Sok An.

Rath Rot Mony said Thurs­day that Unesco should have tried to get Apsara and the Ja­panese teams to sit down with the workers.

“And all the minister did is make promises—I don’t believe in his promises,” he added.

The federation plans to demonstrate in front the Ministry of La­bor and Unesco offices in Phnom Penh, and at the Apsara, JSA and Sophia offices in Siem Reap, Rath Rot Mony said.


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