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Hundreds "fired or suspended" for Cambodian casino strike
June 24, 2013 / 9:42 AM / 4 years ago

Hundreds "fired or suspended" for Cambodian casino strike

PHNOM PENH, June 24 (Reuters) - More than 400 Cambodian croupiers, drivers, cleaners and other workers have been sacked or suspended by the Hong Kong-listed owner of their casino after going on strike for higher pay and better working conditions, they said on Monday.

Strikes over pay and working conditions are on the rise in Cambodia, particularly in the garment sector, where low-cost labour has attracted many Western brands in recent years.

Hundreds of strikers demonstrated on Monday outside the NagaWorld hotel and casino complex, owned by Nagacorp Ltd .

One of them, Seng Lay Heng, 22, read out a text message she had received from management saying: “Your contract with NagaWorld is terminated with immediate effect.”

“This is illegal. The company can’t just fire us without a reason,” she said, adding the workers had gone on strike legally.

The company did not respond to requests for comment in either Cambodia or Hong Kong.

Last week, riot police and security guards broke up a peaceful protest, mostly by women, and briefly detained 19 NagaWorld workers and union representatives, according to the Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation.

About 1,000 workers have been on strike since June 13, demanding that Nagaworld increase their pay to up to $150 from $80 a month, or by 20 percent for those already earning more than $150.

According to a memo emailed to senior staff, 413 workers had had their contracts “terminated/suspended”. It was not clear what was meant by “suspended”.

The strikers “have been identified to have been involved in the illegal strike against the company”, management said in the email seen by Reuters. (Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Alan Raybould)

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