More than 80 laborers at the Colexsim logging company in Russei Keo district signed a letter last Tuesday agreeing to end their protest after Colexsim owners promised to pay them two month’s compensation for lost time, Colexsim officials said.
The agreement follows major protests last Monday, when workers burned car tires in front of the Colexsim building and demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Colexsim has been closed since August, when furniture production was halted due to an insufficient supply of logs, Colexsim president Nut Un Coun Heng said.
The 81 workers feared being fired without compensation and demanded on Dec 23 to be paid $3,000 each, but accepted the company’s proposal to pay employees for two months’ work and to ensure that they have a job once the mill reopens.
Nut Un Coun Heng said he did not want to stop the workers from working but since the government banned transportation of the logs earlier this year, Colexsim did not have enough logs to run the company.
He said workers would have jobs in the future if they waited until the highly disputed 25-year forest management plan was adopted. Debate over the plan’s integrity, which proposes strategic cutting so forests have time to regrow, has inspired protests from villagers and international observers.
The ban greatly affected Colexsim in August, causing Nut Un Coun Heng twice to cut workers’ salaries, he said.