Union Calls for Hotel Boycott

Union leaders have called for a boycott of Himawari Hotel Apart­ments, formerly MiCasa Hotel Apartments, as it has refused to rehire four workers whom Cam­bodia’s Arbitration Council ruled in August were dismissed be­cause of their union activities.

“Starting from today, we are calling on the national and international communities to boycott the hotel because the hotel discriminates against the union,” said Ly Korm, president of the Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation.

He said he plans to distribute  leaflets to NGOs and em­bas­sies in Phnom Penh and to several international service industry unions.

The hotel says it dismissed the four workers on March 24 and 25 for “poor performance.”

But on Aug 6, the three-person Arbitration Council ordered the hotel to rehire Sok Thol, Oul Srey Vuthnea, Kram Sokheang and Eang Kimhun and pay back wages starting from the day they were fired. All four were instrumental in establishing a hotel union that management does not recognize.

“The employer actually dismissed Mr Sok Thol more for anti-union reasons,” the report reads, noting Sok Thol was elected president of the new union two days later.

“The dismissal of the [other] three workers was based more on their participation in the union activities of Mr Sok Thol than their misconduct in the workplace,” the report added.

The hotel filed an objection days later that rendered the decision nonbinding.

Hotel manager Ly Sakhoeun said the MiCasa union, which the men helped organize, never received approval from the Minis­try of Labor and Vocational Train­ing and so the dismissals were not illegal.

“The Ministry of Labor and Vo­cational Training has confirmed, reg­istered and [approved the] Union of Employees Hima­wari,” Ly Sakhoeun wrote in a statement printed in newspapers Dec 28. “Kindly take note that MiCasa Employee Union is not licensed and not approved.”

Hotel staff said Ly Sakhoeun was unavailable for comment Wednesday.


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