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Gas Station Workers Join in Strikes for Raised Wages

A woman walks through a closed Caltex gas station during a strike Monday, May 12, 2014, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Workers at gas stations in Cambodia owned by the U.S. oil company Caltex have gone on strike to demand higher wages and better working conditions. A strike leader, Sar Mora, said at least 250 Cambodian employees of Caltex halted work Monday, forcing at least 17 of the company's 26 stations to suspend operating. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
Hundreds of staff members from the Caltex fuel company have gone on strike.

Employees said Monday they are protesting in front of Caltex gas stations to join with garment factory workers who are seeking a raise in the minimum wage, to $160 per month.

Employees say they make between $110 and $130 a month at Caltex, a brand under the US-based Chevron Corporation, whose net income in 2013 was $120 billion.

Staff members say they have seen little in raises in the last decade, sometimes as little as $5, even as the price of goods continues to climb.

“Food is quite expensive now, so how can we live on this salary, especially those who have children?” said Maon Sineth, a Caltex cashier.

The Caltex workers add their number to ongoing protests by garment factory unions, who are quietly striking in their continued demand for higher wages.

Sor Mora, a leader for the Labor Union Federation of Food and Services, called the Caltex demands “appropriate.”

“This international company is supposed to provide a decent, standard salary for its employees,” he said. “In fact, it does not.”

Sor Mora said negotiations with the company have failed, leading to the strike.

Chan Lek, a spokesman for Caltex, declined to comment Monday.