Former Beehive Workers Protest Over Severance Pay

Nine former employees of Beehive radio station protested in Phnom Penh on Wednesday to demand that owner Mam Sonando respect an Arbitration Council ruling that he pay them severance after firing them earlier this year.

A dispute began at the station in March after Mr. Sonando, a prominent government critic, sacked four workers he claimed routinely failed to show up to work.

Ten staff members then went on strike in an attempt to push him to hand over unpaid wages to the four, but he retaliated by firing six more.

In a non-legally binding decision on June 5, the Arbitration Council ordered Beehive to provide severance in line with its legal obligations to the employees whose contracts were terminated. It also ordered that they be paid money owed for working shifts on public holidays between 2012 and 2014.

Mr. Sonando on Wednesday remained defiant in his refusal to pay up, saying the workers quit without giving the required one-week notice before “defaming” him online.

“If we respect the Arbitration Council, it seems workers have the freedom to do everything they want, and employers pay the money to them without any real reason,” he said.

Yean Soveary, one of the 10 fired workers, said protests would continue until the issue was resolved.

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