Garbage Collectors Protest in Front of National Assembly Salaries

Twenty garbage trucks parked along the street in front of the National Assembly Wednesday afternoon. The capital’s trash collectors milled around the curb, grumbling about having not been paid by their employer, Canadian-based Cintri (Cambodia) Ltd.

Worker representative Noup Na­run said Cintri is supposed to pay its drivers and garbage collectors on the fifth of every month. This month, he said, the company has not paid them because it sus­pects some drivers of siphoning gasoline from the garbage trucks. He said Cintri has refused to pay their salaries until the thieves are identified.

“I don’t mind if the company finds out who stole the gasoline. The company can fire them. But if they can’t find them, they still have to pay our salaries,” Noup Narun said.

He added that 60 trucks, six wor­kers per truck, would continue to strike until salaries are paid. He said the trucks would not be re­­turned to the company until then.

Cintri Operations Manager Pas­cal Patrice was mystified by the demonstration. “They say we are not paying their salary, which is not true…. We are trying to find out what is happening right now,” he said.

Noup Narun listed other grievances that have upset workers since Cintri took over trash collection in August: Collectors are not al­lowed to ride on top of trucks; col­lectors are not allowed to sort through the waste and sell their pickings, a sideline gig that Noup Na­­run said earned workers up to 20,000 riel per day; and the daily col­­lection takes longer than eight hours, but workers are not paid overtime. He added that workers had not re­­ceived overtime pay they were pro­mised for collecting trash over re­cent national holidays.

Several other workers echoed these com­plaints, but declined to give their names for fear of losing their jobs. After about half an hour without a response from anyone in the National Assembly, the collectors loaded back into their trucks and headed for City Hall. Some rode on top.

(Additional reporting by Porter Barron)

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