Cintri Back to Work in Time for Royal Ceremony

Phnom Penh’s trash collectors ended their strike Wednesday after being promised increased salaries—leaving two days to clean the streets before Friday’s ceremony to inter the ashes of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk.

Ngoun Sipheng, the operations manager for Cintri, which has a monopoly on waste collection in the city, said the firm had agreed to a $10 pay rise for trash collectors from August, bringing the monthly salary for the firm’s lowest-paid workers to $100.

A cyclist covers his face as he passes a large pile of garbage on Sothearos Boulevard on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
A cyclist covers his face as he passes a large pile of garbage on Sothearos Boulevard on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Street cleaners, drivers and mechanics, who already earn upwards of $100, will receive a $5 per month increase.

Mr. Sipheng said Cintri—concerned about garbage buildup near the Royal Palace ahead of Friday’s ceremony—had deployed additional workers to Daun Penh district as well as Chamkar Mon, Prampi Makara and Tuol Kok.

“We know that the garbage is a big problem that we need to resolve due to the effect it has on the health of people in the city, especially as it is close to the ceremony to inter the late King’s ashes,” Mr. Sipheng said.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said district security guards, who on Tuesday were sent to pick up trash, and other lower-level municipal officials would continue to collect refuse in the coming days.

Mr. Dimanche, who last October said the contract between Cintri and City Hall needed to be reviewed, warned Wednesday that the contract could be canceled if “the company fails to meet its contractual obligations [in the future].”

Worker representative Prak Sokha said the strike was called off despite the firm’s refusal to pay monthly housing, health and travel stipends worth $35.

“The workers stopped their strike because they got a much better offer [than earlier in the week] and the company could not provide more than this,” he said.

However, trash collector Khiev Net, 28, said she was disappointed with the deal.

“I think this money is not enough for the workers, but I am forced to accept this agreement between both sides,” she said.

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