As the strike by thousands of workers at the NagaWorld hotel casino resort in Cambodia entered its sixth week, members of the IUF-affiliated LRSU held a press conference to repudiate the misinformation spread by NagaWord and the Ministry of Labour
At the press conference held on January 28, union representatives responded a public statement by NagaWorld management published by the media on January 3. While NagaWorld continues to claim the mass layoff of over 1,000 union members was necessary due to economic losses, the union pointed out that NagaWorld has continued to generate an annual net profit of over USD 100 million. In fact on March 8, 2021 – exactly a month before the announcement of mass layoffs on April 8 – NagaCorp announced a USD 102 million profit and that 100% of the profits for the second half of 2020 will be paid out to “loyal” shareholders. [See After paying out 100% of profits to “loyal shareholders”, Naga World Hotel Casino terminates over 1,300 workers who worked through the pandemic – IUF Asia-Pacific (iufap.org]
Meanwhile, the construction of the new Naga 3 continues. The cost of the Naga 3 Integrated Entertainment Complex is USD 3.5 billion. This is not a company that needs to terminate 1,300 workers to avoid bankruptcy.
In its statement on January 3, NagaWorld management makes the extraordinary claim that:
“… because of the strong dedication towards protection of interests and rights of the staff’s welfare, the company has encouraged and emphasized to the staff to unionize since the company’s inception in 1995.”
The union pointed out that, in stark contrast to this claim, management engaged in a series of systematic violations of worker and trade union rights – including fundamental rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining – which were reported to the Ministry of Labour for over 13 years. These same rights violation were reported to the ILO, and the termination of union leaders in 2009 was the subject of an ILO complaint filed in 2010.
In February 2009, management unfairly dismissed 14 union leaders and members during collective bargaining to prevent the union from pursuing its wage demands. Management refused to reinstate the union leaders even after an Arbitration Council decision ordering reinstatement. The collective bargaining rights of more than 4,000 union members were never restored.
The strike will continue until NagaWorld makes its claim to respect trade union rights a reality. This needs the immediate and unconditional release of arrested union leaders, the reinstatement of unfairly terminated union leaders and members, and good faith negotiations with LRSU. Only then can NagaWorld’s misleading public statement begin to be rectified.