Monkey Farm Employees March for Pay Raise

More than 80 workers from a controversial monkey breeding farm marched through Pursat City on Tuesday morning to demand a pay raise.

Employees of the Vanny Bio-Research Corporation’s provincial branch in Pursat City’s Prey Nhy commune—where long-tailed macaques are bred for animal testing purposes—began their march through the city at 6:30 a.m. in their bid for a $20 monthly raise, according to commune police chief Sam Vanna.

In the afternoon, a team of police, labor and local government officials met the workers at the Vanny Bio-Research facility, he said.

After two hours of fruitless negotiations, they were joined by city governor Chab Neang, who encouraged the employees to return to their jobs until a compromise could be reached with the company, Mr. Vanna said.

Although they returned to work, the protesters—who are paid varying salaries depending on their roles—rejected an offer of an extra $8 per month annually, he said.

“The workers said they couldn’t accept it,” he said, adding that provincial governor Mao Thonin would meet with the disgruntled employees today.

A member of the company’s administrative staff, who declined to give her name because she was not authorized to speak to the media, said that employees normally received an annual raise that fluctuated depending on the business’s profits.

“Every year, the company increases salaries for workers in April,” she said.

Vanny Bio-Research runs one of five macaque breeding labs in Cambodia, where the primates are grown and sold to international buyers, mainly for medical testing purposes.

In 2008, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection accused the company of keeping monkeys in small, barren cages and treating them cruelly.

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