Unpaid NEC Workers Stage Protest, Demanding Salaries

Saying they have not been paid, about 100 former employees of the National Election Committee demonstrated Tues­day in front of NEC offices at the Ministry of Interior.

The workers—mostly temporary administrative staff—claim they have fulfilled their commitment to the NEC and should be paid immediately.

“We want our salary before [Sunday’s election],” said Chea Sotheavy, a former data entry worker for the NEC. “If we wait to get our salary after election day, we will receive nothing.”

More than 350 workers signed three-month contracts with the NEC, which expired Jan 26.

According to workers, they ex­pected some payment after they finished working. Instead, the NEC posted a notice that told the workers to return Feb 12 to re­ceive more news of their salaries.

NEC Secretary-General Im Sous­dey said he sent a request for the salaries to the Ministry of Finance this past weekend, but the former workers will have to be patient.

“We can’t pay them before Feb 3,” he said. “We do not cheat them. We need a little time…. The procedure to get funds is not quick.”

Im Sousdey also said the NEC remains busy with other election work. “We do not just work for a small group of people…. [Some] NEC staff members did not get their salary for three or four months, but they are not protesting,” he said.

According to an NEC staff mem­ber who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the NEC is un­able to pay its former workers due to delayed aid money from Ja­pan.

Charge d’Affaires Katsuhiro Shi­no­hara said the Japanese Em­bassy has not received any complaints regarding late delivery of donor funds. Japan is the leading donor nation to Cambodia.

“We are trying very much to get money for the [workers], but we don’t have a fixed date [yet],” the NEC staffer said. “We expect they would get the money in the middle of February.”

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