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Beer Promoters To Demonstrate Over Unpaid Firing

“Pub Street” area in the Cambodian tourist town of Siem Reap on Thursday, March 19, 2015. (Nov Povleakhena/V
“Pub Street” area in the Cambodian tourist town of Siem Reap on Thursday, March 19, 2015. (Nov Povleakhena/V

A group of beer promoters plan to stage a demonstration Wednesday to demand payment for eight women who were fired by a beer company owned by a ruling party senator.

The An Co Brother Company, owned by Kok An, a senator for the Cambodian People’s Party, has been ordered to compensate the women by the government’s Arbitration Council.

Members of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation say they will demonstrate Wednesday to ensure the women are paid, because the company has so far ignored the council’s decision.

San Sophat, legal and campaign officer for the union, said the workers filed a complaint with the union after they were fired. “The union then facilitated the process until the dispute was solved at the Arbitration Council, which ordered the company to pay compensation to the workers, according to the law,” he said. “But the company didn’t implement the order.”

The labor law requires employers to pay severence pay, and the eight workers should have been paid, the Arbitration Council said in a June 12 decision.

Chhum Mohakosal, a company representative, dismissed the allegations and said “strong, legal action” could be taken if workers strike.

Heng Sour, spokesman for the Ministry of Labor, could not be reached for comment.

Phat Phanna, 32, who worked as a beer promoter for An Co Brother for nearly four years before she was fired in January, said she will take part in a strike. She is demanding $1,000 in severance.

“On the day we were laid off, we were not informed in advance,” she said. “We were asked to stop, without compensation for the first three months of our layoff, and we were not offered any severance pay.”

The Food and Service Workers Union said in an email that the former workers will stage a demonstration outside the An Co company in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district, on Wednesday.