After two days of protesting over rental fees and poor management, vendors at Phnom Penh’s Sorya Shopping Center—which was almost completely shuttered on Thursday—reached an agreement with the mall’s administration Friday and reopened their shops.
In a meeting mediated by Daun Penh district governor Kouch Chamreoun, vendors lowered their demand for a 30 percent cut in rental fees and accepted a 20 percent reduction to be implemented over the next six months.
“As a deal has been struck, we have agreed to open our shops as normal from this afternoon on,” said Bun Nara, a representative of the vendors who runs a clothing shop at the mall.
As part of the deal, managers imposed three conditions on tenants—paying rent on time, clearly displaying the price of items and keeping their shops clean.
The mall’s managers were also pushing to have vendors agree to strict business hours, but ultimately agreed to allow for a 30-minute window for opening and closing shops when the mall opens and closes at 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
After a two-month grace period, the mall will begin to increase the monthly rent for shop owners who fail to follow the opening and closing times, according to Chea Sokheak, Sorya’s general manager.
Another demand from vendors that the mall reduce the cost of transferring their shops to another tenant before a contract expires was put on hold, according to Aing Saing, assistant to the chairman of Canadia Integrated Enterprise Group, the firm that owns the mall.
“The fee is stated on contract, which we cannot change without it going through the board of directors,” she said.
Mr. Chamreoun, the district governor, noted it was not his duty to intervene in disputes within private enterprises, but said he made an exception for one of the city’s largest shopping centers.
“We have waited for the problem to be solved internally, but because two days have gone by with no agreement, I accepted the request to provide mediation,” he said.