Former British Embassy Guards Protest Layoffs

Demanding compensation, 50 former security guards for the Bri­tish Embassy protested peacefully in front of the embassy building af­ter being laid off on Tuesday.

The protesters said the em­bas­sy gave no notice that they were being fired and hired se­curity guards from MPA security company to replace them.

“We will look for a lawyer to protect us and demand our compen­sa­­­tion according to the Labor Law,” Mol Veasna, a former security guard, said outside the em­bassy Tuesday.

The British Embassy countered the protesters charges in a statement released Tuesday,

“All those former Embassy em­plo­yees made redundant have been offered settlement packages that are over and above those re­quired to be offered under the pro­v­i­­sions of local labor law,” the state­ment said.

According to the embassy, the se­­curity work was outsourced be­cause of “The need to maintain an ef­fective, credible and cost-effective security force…. A recent internal review was conducted to ascertain if these objectives were being met. The conclusion was that they were not.”

Former security guard Yun Chha­y­ueng complained Tues­day that the guards were not given advance notice of the layoffs.

“They didn’t tell us one month in advance,” she said. “They just told us 10 minutes ago.”

She also alleged that the em­bas­sy did not give the guards adequate holidays.

A British Embassy official contacted on Tuesday declined comment and referred a reporter to the press statement.

Though police have regularly used violence to disperse garment factory and other peaceful demonstrations in Phnom Penh over the past two years, the embassy pro­test was not dispersed or disrupted on Tuesday.

“We didn’t disperse them be­cause they were peaceful,” said Touch Sarin, police chief of Daun Penh district’s Srah Chak commune.

Touch Sarin said that the former guards intend to protest at the embassy again today.

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