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Call for releasing union leaders in Cambodia

CNV Internationaal asks for the release of 8 union leaders in Cambodia

The union leaders were arrested together with 21 union members while protesting peacefully against the refusal of NagaWorld Casino hotel to engage in good faith negotiations over the forced mass redundancy of over 1,300 workers. The 8 detainees are all union leaders of the Labor Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of NagaWorld (LRSU). CNV Internationaal supports the plea of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and the Global Union Federations to release the workers immediately and drop all charges against them.

The LRSU is leading an on-going strike over the mass retrenchment at NagaWorld Casino in Phnom Penh. The detainees are now under pre-trial detention pending a trial of incitement charges under the Cambodian Criminal Code which carry a sentence of up to 5 years imprisonment. COVID-19 restrictions are currently being used to deny them access to legal representation.

The management of NagaWorld Casino has not abided by the government’s policies on job, safety and health protection under the Covid-19 pandemic. Without observing trade union consultation on retrenchment required under the Cambodian Labour Law, 1,329 workers have been laid off; 1,100 of them are trade union members. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT) has been failing to enforce the legal protections for the workers of NagaWorld.

Respect labour rights

The decision of the LRSU to go on strike on 18 December was adopted overwhelmingly by 97 percent of the members and a notification was sent immediately to the management and the relevant authorities. The right of the LRSU to continue the strike is guaranteed under the Cambodian laws.

CNV Internationaal is very concerned about the situation in Cambodia and calls upon the government to respect internationally recognized labour rights. Strike and labour protests are essential means for workers and their trade unions to defend their economic and social interests are legitimate rights protected under ILO Convention No.87 on Freedom of Association.

I ask for the release of the union leaders!

Publication date 10 02 2022

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