Gas Company Employee Strikes Suspended for Wage Study

After a week of strikes, employees at Caltex gas stations agreed to go back to work Friday after being promised a $20 one-time bonus while the company studies its wage structure, a union representative said Friday.

Sar Mora, president of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation, said the deal will see workers return to their stations starting Saturday.

“After this morning’s meeting, the company and employees agreed on a $20 bonus and two months for the company to conduct a study on how much it can increase the current salary,” he said.

Approximately 300 workers at 17 Phnom Penh Caltex stations began striking Monday to call for a $160 a month wage and a yearly bonus equivalent to one month’s salary. In April, workers were given a pay rise from $90 to $110, which they have said is not in keeping with rising costs of living.

Earlier this week, negotiations between workers and the company stalled after representatives from Chevron, which owns and manages the Caltex brand, asked that they be given several months to study the feasibility of a $160 monthly wage. The $20 bonus, however, appears to have quelled workers’ doubts about waiting for the study to be completed.

“The employees will resume their work tomorrow, but if the outcome of the study is an increase that cannot be accepted by the employees, they will renew their strikes then,” said Mr. Mora.

Mr. Mora estimated that the 17 stations each net around $10,000 a day from gasoline and convenience store sales, putting losses from the strike at around $850,000.

Chevron spokeswoman Chanlek Than said the company was working to resolve the situation amicably.

“Chevron (Cambodia) Limited met with union representatives this morning and is reviewing its options to resolve this issue,” she wrote in an email Friday evening.

“The company will engage with the union once a decision is reached.”

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