Mfone Workers Demand $4.4M Compensation

About 200 former employees of bankrupt mobile phone operator Mfone on Sunday protested outside the company’s shuttered offices, asking for the help of Prime Minister Hun Sen in the their fight to get more than $4 million in compensation from the company.

Mfone declared itself insolvent in January and is the subject of a number of complaints from competitors, who say they are owed connection fees, and customers stuck with worthless top-up vouchers.

A representative of the demonstrators, Nim Solyda, a former engineering supervisor at Mfone, a Thai-owned company, said that 1,092 former members of staff were entitled to a total of $4.4 million in severance pay since their contracts were prematurely terminated by the company.

“We are holding a peaceful protest today to demand compensation and we do not want the company to delay any longer as we all need money to feed our families,” Mr. Solyda said.

“We would like to appeal to Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen to intervene, to push the company to pay compensation quickly,” he added.

Sang Darin, a driver who worked for Mfone for seven years, said that he was owed $5,400 in severance pay.

“We need compensation in line with the Labor Law,” he said, adding that he was struggling to pay his rent and his children’s schooling.

Another disgruntled former employee, Nuon Sam Ath, a former salesman for Mfone, said that ThaiCom PLC, Mfone’s parent company, and its subsidiary Shenington Investment Pte. Ltd., which is Mfone’s official owner, should take responsibility for the debts.

“I would like to appeal to the debtors to be responsible for paying compensation to all of us urgently,” he said.

China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. claims Mfone owes it more than $65 million in unpaid bills, and Norwegian-owned Eltek is seeking repayment of $3.73 million from Mfone. Smart Mobile has also filed a complaint seeking damages against Mfone for an undisclosed sum.

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