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Beehive Radio Owner Faces Unrest from Workers

Cambodia’s most prominent human rights defenders Mam Sonando, center, leads a protesters to demand the government to allow him to open a new television channel in front of Ministry of Information, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. Police in

Mam Sonando, the owner of Beehive Radio, has agreed to pay compensation to several fired employees in an ongoing protest over working conditions and payment there.

Eleven out of 24 employees of the station were on strike last week, demanding raises for senior workers, a weeklong holiday and improved conditions at the station.

Beehive is one of the few independent broadcast media operations in Cambodia, including programming from Radio Free Asia, the Voice of America and other international broadcasters.

Following a Monday meeting with officials from Phnom Penh’s department of labor, Mam Sonando told VOA Khmer he will pay wages to four workers for February, but he will not rehire the workers he fired.

“There is no way I will re-employ those people, because their activities do not reflect the will to seek a resolution,” he said. “They have conducted serious activities against me and my station.”

Yean Soveary, a protesting employee who had worked at the station for 10 years, said workers had maintained some hope of returning after they protested. But she said they will continue to protest until all of them have been justly compensated.

“He has to pay our salaries,” she said. “We will keep protesting if he does not agree to our offer.”

Both sides will meet with the municipal department of labor on Tuesday to seek a solution.