Coalition of Unions Cancels Planned Strike

The Cambodia Watchdog Coun­­c­il, a coalition of five unions, called off its plans to strike next week after Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando and Ras­mei Ang­kor (Light of Ang­kor) newspaper Editor En Chan Si­v­atha were re­leased on bail from Prey Sar pris­on Tuesday, council officials said.

“We will cancel all plans for a strike and will consider holding a strike only if we have a good and fair reason,” Free Trade Union of the Workers of the Kingdom of Cam­bodia President Chea Vi­chea said.

He said he would consider striking in the future for the un­justified arrest of “important politicians.” He refrained from naming who, although opposition leader Sam Rainsy went into hiding Mon­­day in response to reports that he may be arrested for alleged involvement in the Jan 29 riots.

Free Trade Union representatives from 66 factories planned on Sunday to reduce their members’ work schedule by one hour each day until Feb 24, when they would engage in a full strike if the journalists were not released by Feb 17, Chea Vichea said.

Although the journalists’ releases were not the result of a goodwill gesture from Prime Minister Hun Sen, Chea Vichea applauded him for the motion. He then said that National Police Director Gen­eral Hok Lundy should resign.

In an earlier statement, the Watchdog Council strongly criticized Hun Sen for enabling the Jan 29 riots and called for the premier’s resignation.

The group abandoned its call for a resignation after more than 200 members of the pro-government Pagoda Boys Association gathered in front of Wat Botum Sunday promising to counter anti-Hun Sen movements.



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