Protesting Beer Promoters Say Company Threatened Firings

More than 30 Angkor Beer promoters claim that Cambrew Ltd yesterday threatened to fire them as their protest to recoup overtime wages entered its third day. De­spite the threat, workers plan to stay on strike until the company agrees to double overtime pay for work on weekends.

Protester Nuth Sros, 36, said company representatives threatened the workers while they were protesting outside the factory on Phnom Penh’s Norodom Boulevard yesterday morning. “They said that if we continue to protest, they will fire us without compensation,” Ms Sros said.

Ou Tephalin, vice president of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers’ Federation, said the company broke the law by threatening to fire employers who pro­test or join unions.

“If the company fires any worker who joins a protest, it is absolutely illegal,” Ms Tephalin said.

The Arbitration Council this month ordered the company to pay 34 employees an extra $2 for every weekend day they worked between November 2007 and December 2010.

Protester Ms Sros said the workers would keep demonstrating until the company followed the arbitration order. Ms Sros ad­ded that the women also faced harassment during work. “Some customers forced us to drink beer and sometimes they used vio­­lence on us, but the company did not take responsibility.”

Kong Sinon, 40, another protester, said she earned $50 per month for working between 5 pm and 11 pm, but often she worked overtime until 1 am. “I work at night. The job is very dangerous for women,” Ms Sinon said.

Bou Chanveasna, chief secretary of the Arbitration Council, said the company needs to solve the dispute with its workers. If no solution is found, workers can file a complaint with Phnom Penh Muni­cipal Court, Ms Chanveasna said.

Buoy Chan Sothea, marketing ma­­nager at Cambrew Ltd, de­clined to comment yesterday.

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