The Ratanakkiri provincial auth-ority on Wednesday put an end to the province’s 34 solidarity groups by taking possession of about 2,000 hectares of rubber plantations that the groups had controlled since the 1980s, officials said.
Provincial Deputy Governor Chey Sayoeun said that the Ratan-akkiri authority has begun recruiting plantation workers who used to work for the solidarity groups so that they can be employed by Tai Seng Rubber Plantation Company, which will now manage the plantations. There is no recruitment deadline set, he said, and Tai Seng will accept all former solidarity group laborers.
“The solidarity groups have been finished since Wednesday,” Chey Sayoeun said. “We are ac-cepting the workers and will give them employment.”
He added that Tai Seng will pay workers 85 percent of the market value of the rubber resin they collect, significantly more than the 50 percent of market value that the solidarity group chiefs paid.
Formed in the communist 1980s, the solidarity groups were originally worker collectives that were eventually taken over by private op-erators, who the government and rights groups say exploited workers.
Agriculture Ministry rubber department Director Ly Phalla said Tai Seng will establish the Tai Seng Rubber community for the workers who register with the company.
“These are real communities that give real benefit for the workers,” Ly Phalla said.
He added that Tai Seng now manages 3,500 hectares of rubber plantation in Ratanakkiri.