Local Caltex Operator To Sue US Firm

On a day when workers stopped their strike at one Phnom Penh Cal­­tex gas station, the operator of another station announced Wed­nes­day that he will sue the US-based firm for alleged loss of profits.

Eang Nakry, the owner of a Cal­tex station in Meanchey district’s Chak Angre commune, said he has lost more than $100,000 over eight years in money-changing fees because of what he called an ill­egal requirement by the firm to be paid in US dollars rather than Cambodian riel.

“I will demand for proper implementation of the contract,” he said.

He said that according to his 1998 agreement with Caltex, the company agreed to accept payments in Thai baht, dollars or riel.

On Friday, Eang Nakry said, Cal­tex abruptly stopped delivering its regular 4,500 liters of petroleum to his station in an effort, he claim­ed, to abruptly sever the contract.

He said Caltex must give one month’s notice, and asserted that the firm has timed the move ahead of an upcoming brand-name change to Chevron, of which Cal­tex is a subsidiary.

Pich Chetra, communications specialist at Caltex, said he could not respond to the allegations without clearance from a regional office in Malaysia.

Huy Navy, director of foreign ex­change management at the Na­tion­­al Bank of Cambodia, said firms should accept payments in riel.

Those refusing riel as payment could be sued under the 1996 Law on the Organization of the National Bank, he said.

At the Caltex station on Phnom Penh’s Monireath Boulevard, striking employees returned to work on Wednesday, according to Pich Chetra.

Forty-one Caltex staffers went on strike on Tuesday calling for the re­instatement of their manager, who was fired for drinking two cans of beer on the job.

Chak Bunthorn, the manager in question, said he is now seeking compensation for his dismissal.

“If I am still fired, the company must give me something for the firing,” he said.


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