Panel To Hear Service Charge Complaints

Complaints over the collection of service charges, which led to a strike at luxury hotels in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap earlier this month, will be addressed today at three separate Arbi­tration Council hearings, a Coun­cil member said.

The Council will hear cases from Hotel InterContinental, Hotel Cambodiana and Sunway Hotel, the official said Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

The Council has also invited representatives from the Raffles-owned Grand d’Angkor hotel in Siem Reap, which fired workers who participated in the strike, the Council member said.

“We want to know why the ho­tel fired the workers,” the official said. At least 200 workers at that hotel were hand-delivered termination notices over the weekend.

The union representing the fired workers is demanding severance pay from Grand d’Angkor, said the union’s president, Pap Sambo.

“We want the Arbitration Coun­cil to pressure the hotel to ad­here to the labor law,” Pap Sam­bo said.

But management at the Grand d’Angkor has not decided wheth­er it will attend the hearing, said the hotel’s lawyer, Seng Vuoch Hun. Raffles has also threatened to fire strikers at its Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh.

The Council previously or­dered hotels to pay workers a por­tion of the service charge, which normally amounts to 10 percent of a customer’s bill. Many of the hotels dropped the charges from their bills after that ruling.

The long-running dispute over the charges erupted in strikes  before the Khmer New Year holiday, when some 2,000 workers at seven hotels refused to work.

A dispute at the Sofitel Angkor Hotel was resolved after hotel man­agers agreed to pay workers $45 in addition to their monthly salaries, and to comply with service charge disbursals if the government so orders it, said union leaders and hotel management.

“I think everything has been settled,” said Marc Begassat, the hotel’s general manager.

A dispute at the Pansea Angkor Hotel ended through mediation earlier this month.


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