Workers Demand Nonprofits Recognize Unions

Restoration workers at Angkor Wat are demanding that the Ap­sa­ra Authority and two Japan­ese res­to­ration organizations in­crease their salaries, adopt standard practices and recognize their unions.

“They claim they are interna­tion­­al nonprofit organizations helping Cambodia so they do not re­cognize the unions,” Rath Rot Mony, president of the Cambo­dian Construction Workers Trade Union Federation, said Sunday.

Rath Rot Mony said the union has six branches representing Ang­­kor Wat workers, but the Ja­pan­ese Government Team for Safe­­guarding Angkor (JSA), So­phia Angkor International Mission and Apsara Authority have not re­cog­­nized them. He said the union is demanding workers re­ceive at least $75 per month. He said many are only making $50.

The workers held one 30-min­ute sit-in strike on Jan 12, but a se­cond strike six days later was called off after police interfered, Rath Rot Mony said.

The union plans to sit down Tuesday with the UN Educational, Sci­­en­tific and Cultural Organ­i­za­tion to ask for support and hopes to meet with Minister of La­bor and Vocational Training Nhep Bun­chin soon, Rath Rot Mony said. He said if an agreement is not reached within two weeks, workers will hold demonstrations in­side the Angkor Wat compound.

Tamara Teneishvili, standing sec­­retariat for the International Co­ordinating Committee for the Safe­guarding and Development of the Historic Site at Angkor, which falls under Unesco, confirmed the Tues­­­day meeting.

The Apsara Authority, JSA and So­­phia Angkor had initially re­fused to recognize the unions be­cause they were international non-profit organizations, but she thought that had since changed. She said all the organizations operate differently but said most of the teams were already working well.

Soeung Kong, general director of the Apsara Authority, said Sun­day his organization respects the La­bor Law and is not discriminating against unions. Repre­sen­ta­tives from JSA and Sophia Ang­kor declined to comment Sun­day.


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