Capitol Tours Bus Company, 5 Drivers Remain Deadlocked

Following a meeting at the Labor Ministry’s conflict resolution department Thursday, the Capitol Tours bus company and five of its drivers—who claim they were fired for attempting to organize a union—remained deadlocked over their reinstatement.

More than 40 Capitol Tours drivers went on strike on Wednesday and protested outside the company’s headquarters, claiming that the five former employees were fired for attempting to organizing a union with the help of the Cambodian Labor Confederation (CLC).

Var Yuvatvathana, office chief at the conflict resolution department, who led Thursday’s meeting, said that a solution could not be reached and that he would forward the reinstatement dispute to the Arbitration Council on Monday.

“There were three points of disagreement, including their reinstatement,” he said, adding that the other two points were “a 10 percent annual increase to their wages and an annual bonus.”

Mr. Yuvatvathana said that Capitol Tours’ decision to fire the five drivers was made before they attempted to unionize about 40 of the company’s 180 drivers.

Van Rang, one of the sacked drivers, said the meeting left him feeling frustrated, and that he would consult with CLC about the possibility of planning more protests.

Mr. Rang added that the company’s claims that he overloaded his bus and was rude to customers was not true.

“If I did allow extra passengers, or was rude, people would have complained and the company would have told me, but the company never told me anything,” he said.

Khiev Van, a lawyer for Capitol Tours, said the five drivers were let go as part of a downsizing at the company.

Mr. Van added that the five never sent a request to the Labor Ministry to form a union, as required.

CLC Secretary-General Kong Athit said a request was submitted to and approved by the ministry, which should have given them the green light to form a union.

“We showed it [the approval] to the company,” he said, noting that the five drivers were fired days later, on July 9.

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