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Striking Caltex Workers Call on US for Support

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)
A small group representing striking Caltex gas station workers delivered a petition to the US Embassy on Thursday, asking for help as they seek an increase in monthly wages.

Hundreds of Caltex workers have been on strike since Monday, joining garment factory workers in calls for an increase of the minimum wage to $160 per month and for better working conditions. Caltex is a brand of the US-based multinational Chevron Corporation.

“Because Chevron is a US-based company, and its employees are still on strike for a decent wage, we want the US government to intervene to solve the two remaining demands,” Sar Mora, head of the Labor Union Federation of Food and Services, said.

Embassy spokesman John Simmons later told VOA Khmer by email the petition was delivered.

“While the US Embassy is not involved in contractual negotiations between private employers and their employees, we fully support the right of all workers to lawfully and peaceably negotiate for fair wages and safe working conditions,” he said.

Negotiations with Chevron and Caltex stalled Tuesday, after the company failed to give a definitive time frame to salary increases. Another round of talks is scheduled for May 20.

“The strike has resulted in the closure of a number of our service stations in Phnom Penh,” Than Chanlek, a spokesman for Chevron Cambodia, said. “Our priority is to resolve this issue amicably and to resume operations, so as to minimize inconvenience to the public.”