Dismissed Beer Promoters to Protest at Budweiser Factory

Eight women dismissed in January from their jobs promoting Budweiser will protest today outside the Phnom Penh headquarters of Anco Brothers, the company that distributes the American beer, to demand severance after the Arbitration Council ruled in their favor, according to their union.

The eight women, who promoted Budweiser for between 3 and 16 years, were dismissed at the start of the year along with four other employees who were rehired by Anco Brothers to plug a line of cigarettes it distributes, said San Sopha, legal officer for the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation.

“Anco company fired 12 Budweiser beer promoters in January without paying any of them compensation as required by the Labor Law,” Mr. Sopha said.

On June 12, the Arbitration Council informed Anco Brothers in writing that it was “obligated”—pending appeal—to indemnify the eight workers between $600 and $4,000 each, plus the money owed under Article 89 of the Labor Law for dismissal without notice.

A second letter dated June 23 finalized the decision when no appeal was made, Mr. Sopha said.

“The company has done nothing to implement the decision. Therefore, the workers will protest from Wednesday morning onward until the company honors the decision,” he said, adding that they also planned a campaign against the Budweiser brand, owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Chhum Moha Kosal, the Anco Brothers representative for the Arbitration Council’s mediation session, said Budweiser Cambodia, not Anco, employed the women.

“The 12 workers didn’t have any contracts with Anco, since the company is only responsible for importing and trading the beer,” he said.

Mr. Moha Kosal added that the women had accepted one month’s salary from Budweiser after it ended its promotion activities in January, so he did not know why they were protesting.

“They can take it to court but we don’t want the story to go that far,” he said.

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