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.