About 30 of the 45 Capitol Tours bus drivers who were fired—they claim for attempting unionize last year—protested in front of the company’s head office to demand their jobs back for the first time since a violent fracas with tuk-tuk drivers two months ago.
The ex-drivers were protesting in front of the office in February when a group of tuk-tuk drivers, supposedly upset by the lost business caused by the demonstration, set upon them with sticks, hammers and metal rods, beating at least one of the protesters bloody.
Two of the protesters, a fired driver and a union activist, were arrested at the scene and imprisoned, but released on bail earlier this month.
The former drivers had planned to start protesting again on April 7 but called it off for fear of another attack or more arrests.
Pushing those worries aside, about 30 of the fired drivers resumed their protest over the weekend, demonstrating for two hours on Saturday and again on Sunday morning, said Vann Rorng, a representative of the ex-drivers.
“The problem—that the company fires us for creating a union—has not been solved yet. So we are protesting against the company…so that the company puts us back to work,” he said after Sunday’s rally.
The company denies that it fired the drivers over their union activity.
Khiev Van, a lawyer for Capitol Tours, insisted Sunday that the ex-drivers had been let go for pocketing off-the-books fares they collected from extra passengers.
“They picked up customers along the way and took the money for their personal benefit, which is a breach of the law and their employment contracts,” he said.
Mr. Van has also accused the fired drivers of speeding and said hiring them back was out of the question.
“We will not let them come back to work because they have a spirit of revenge inside of them, so it would be very dangerous for both the company’s passengers and the public if they drive the buses,” he said.