Lecturers Walk Out Over Unpaid Bonuses

Forty lecturers at the National Institute of Business in Phnom Penh went on strike Tuesday, claiming the school director is withholding more than $30,000 owed to them in student fees.

Chhim Thoeun, a lecturer in English, said he and his colleagues had yet to receive a 40 percent cut of student fees for 2013 and 2014 that was promised to them on top of their salary. He said 40 out of 48 lecturers at the college took part in the strike.

“In the school’s policy, the money from student payments is provided 40 percent to teachers and the school keeps 60 percent, but in 2013 and 2014 the manager of the school did not pay that money to the teachers and it is worth $31,500,” Mr. Thoeun said.

“We had to sacrifice our time and effort to teach students,” he added. “We want justice, and [to know] where did 40 percent of the money go?”

Mr. Thoeun said the teachers submitted a complaint to the Labor Ministry on April 25 but had yet to get a reply. Officials at the ministry could not be reached Tuesday.

The lecturers will continue to boycott classes—affecting about 3,000 students—until they receive the money they are owed, Mr. Thoeun said.

“If there is no solution, we will continue to boycott teaching until there is a solution because what we demand is legal…this is our blood and effort,” he said.

Tim Phanath, a second-year student at the institute, voiced support for the striking lecturers and said students would join them if the situation was not rectified.

“We are concerned because we cannot study and we request to the administrator to help find a solution so the teachers can return to teaching,” he said. “We want the director to bear responsibility for teachers.”

Tear Inhout, deputy director of the National Institute of Business, declined to answer questions outside the university Tuesday. Ly Sothea, the school’s director, could not be reached for comment.

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