At least 200 striking employees of the Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap were fired Saturday, and nearly 100 more workers at Raffles Le Royal in Phnom Penh are expected to share their fate, a lawyer for Raffles, which owns both hotels, said Sunday.
MPA security company hand-delivered letters of termination to Grand Hotel d’Angkor employees at their homes Saturday, hotel union president Pap Sambo said. Before opening the envelopes, workers were required to sign a statement confirming that they had received the letter that said the strike was illegal and that the hotel had the right to fire workers, he said.
No such letter had yet been delivered to Le Royal employees Sunday, hotel union president Sao Van Thein said.
“We are not afraid that the hotel will fire us because we have the law,” Sao Van Thein said. Le Royal employees resumed striking Sunday.
However, the fate of the Phnom Penh hotel’s employees “will be the same” as that of the workers in Siem Reap, said Tuoch Seng Hun, a lawyer for Le Royal, on Sunday.
Lawyers for Raffles have repeatedly said the company is entitled to fire the striking workers under the labor law since they violated an April 8 decision by Siem Reap provincial court and an April 9 decision by Phnom Penh court, ordering them to return to work within 48 hours. Grand Hotel d’Angkor manager Mah Mood declined to comment Sunday.
The terminations are illegal, Cambodian Tourism and Service Worker Federation president Ly Korm said.
“I appeal to the hotels not to suspend the workers. We are the workers. We have the right to hold strikes,” he said.
The Siem Reap employees will accept the termination if the workers receive severance pay, Pap Sambo said, which he surmised could amount to as much as $3,000 per employee.
“If we can get $3,000, I want to be a taxi driver to feed my family. I don’t want to work at the hotel, because I don’t want the hotel to look down on the workers,” he said.
Grand Hotel d’Angkor, Le Royal, Sunway Hotel and Hotel InterContinental barred employees from returning to work after an eight-day strike that ended last week, pending an April 21 hearing by the Arbitration Council on whether hotels should levy service charges, the strike’s central issue.
Ly Korm appealed to workers not to abandon their jobs until the hearing. The Raffles hotels are not participating in the April 21 hearing, as the Arbitration Council already ordered those hotels to resume the service charges after workers there staged a strike in December. The hotels refused.
Unions at the Sunway Hotel and Hotel InterContinental said they have not received any letters of termination.