Arbitrator Says Hotel Workers Owed Charges

The Arbitration Council, which hears collectively bargained labor disputes, ruled Wednesday that the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor must distribute all collected service charges to its employees as dictated by Article 134 of the Cambodian labor law.

A statement issued by the 2,500-member Cambodian Tour­ism and Service Workers Feder­ation, with which the hotels’ un­ion is affiliated, said the Council also ruled the hotel must provide a monthly report to the union de­tailing the amount of service charges it collects.

Union President Ly Korm praised the judgment. “It corrects an injustice done to workers at the Raffles Grand, who, for many years, have been paid only a small fraction of the service charge due to them,” he said, adding that he expected the hotel to comply with the ruling.

Riaz Mahmood, manager of the Grand Hotel d’Angkor, said Thurs­day Raffles was waiting for an English translation of the Coun­cil’s ruling before commenting.

Employees at the Siem Reap hotel and Phnom Penh’s Raffles Hotel Le Royal went on strike Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to demand fair pay.

Another embattled Phnom Penh luxury hotel, Hotel Cam­bodiana, weighed in on its own labor troubles Thursday, condemning the Labor Ministry for sending its dispute to the Arbi­tration Council.

The hotel charged the Labor Ministry had illegally reversed a decision made last June, in which it said the complaints of 71 dismissed employees did not constitute a collective dispute and should be argued in court individually.

But the Arbitration Council, which hears only collective disputes, heard the case on Wednes­day and its decision is pending.

Kong Charith of the American Center for Solidarity said Thurs­day the dispute belonged before the Council because the hotel had breached Article 95 of the labor law, which says layoffs must begin with workers employed for the shortest period.

Kong Charith said the hotel instead had fired union members and activists, some whom had worked there as long as 13 years.

The American Center for Sol­idarity provides labor unions with legal and organizational assistance.


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