Royal Government of Cambodia’s Statement on Nagaworld Labour Dispute

The Royal Government of Cambodia this evening issued a statement on the Nagaworld Labour Dispute.

The Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia would like to inform the public that theMinistry of Labour and Vocational Training has been working tirelessly to resolve the labour dispute between Nagaworld and its employees.

Nagaworld was forced to reduce its employees due to the significant impact of COVID-19 on Cambodia's tourism industry. The Ministry has offered financial incentives to employees affected by the downsising and continued to ensure that legitimate benefits of those downsised employees have been assured.

While the Ministry supports the legitimate right to strike, the Ministry and relevant authorities do not permit the disgruntled employees to assemble in great numbers at this time due to the need to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to keep all Cambodians safe. Those who have insisted on gathering to air their grievances at Nagaworld are considered to transgress the Ministry's strict policies and COVID-19 safety regulations, will be removed peacefully, and are at risk of losing their benefits.

Due to the severely impact of COVID-19 pandemic on tourism industry, Nagaworld has downsised its employees by approximately 25 percent to just over 6,000 employees. Around 42 percent of employees continue to be members of a trade union.

373 employees, all of whom are members of the trade union, opposed the downsising and are insisting that the company re-instate them and other former employees, along with other demands. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has been working very hard to conciliate this labour dispute between the company and its employees.

Pursuant to the Nagaworld's request, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a "Temporary Management Warrant" on 16 December 2021, ruling that Nagaworld employees' strikes planned from 18 December 2021 onwards were illegal. However, on 18 December 2021, some employees still went ahead with the strike.

From 18 to 27 December 2021, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, through the Committee for Strikes and Demonstration Resolution, invited concerned parties to negotiate 7 times. Each time, the 373 disgruntled employees demanded to be re-instated before they would issue further demands. As of 15 March 2022, 153 out of 373 employees agreed to accept a one-off payment from Nagaworld in return for their employment contracts being terminated, leaving 220 former employees who have yet to agree.

The Ministry calls on all protestors both current and former employees of Nagaworld to cease gathering in breach of COVID-19 safety regulations, or else they risk being peacefully removed and facing the loss of their entitlement to financial benefits.

On 12 March 2022, 8 of the former employees sent letters to the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training seeking intervention to be released on bail and be representatives of employees in resolving labour dispute with Nagaworld. Through the above-mentioned intervention letters, the Ministry sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice and, in return, the Ministry of Justice sent another intervention letter forwarding it to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Subsequently, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court reviewed the legal process and ruled for the release on bail of the 8 former employees at 19:00 hours on 14 March 2022. Concurrently, at the request of 3 former employees detaining on the charge of breaching safety regulations, the Ministry has sent a request to the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health to review and lend support in releasing them in accordance with the legal process.

The Ministry will continue to facilitate to find a resolution to the labour dispute by inviting both parties to a meeting in the afternoon of 16 March 2022 to continue the discussion.

Therefore, for the public, to be kindly informed accordingly.”

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press