Naga World Hotel Casino ignored union calls for stricter COVID-19 safety measures. Now hundreds of workers are paying the price.

Naga World Hotel Casino ignored union calls for stricter COVID-19 safety measures. Now hundreds of workers are paying the price.

Following reports of two COVID-19 outbreaks in the Naga World Hotel Casino complex in Phnom Penh in February, the IUF-affiliated Labor Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of Naga World (LRSU) wrote three letters to management calling for stricter COVID-19 safety measures and to ensure workers’ rights to a safe workplace. Management ignored this and COVID-19 cases escalated, forcing a shutdown of operations. Now over 1,300 workers are being forced into redundancy, including the union leaders who called for improved safety.

The union also called for greater transparency and for management to share information with the union about these outbreaks. In its letter dated March 1, 2021, LRSU wrote:

On behalf of our 4,000 members at NagaWorld, we call on management to immediately apply comprehensive safety protocols and measures in accordance with WHO guidelines to limit the community spread of COVID-19 in the hotel casino complex [Naga 1 and Naga 2] and ensure the safety of our members and staffs. We are extremely concerned that we only learned of the COVID-19 cases at NagaWorld through media reports and individual workers. We received no information from management about the positive cases or what actions are being taken. In the absence of any information – including the names of those who suspect test positive for COVID-19 – it is impossible for us to assist in contact tracing and tracking. We believe this lack of transparency and cooperation significantly increases the risk for all 8,000 employees.

Management refused to provide any information to the union and forced workers to continue working. When casino customers from overseas who had already tested positive were allowed into the Naga 2 casino on February 25, police arrived to take them into custody. But within hours the casino was operating again and workers were ordered to keep working.

The union urgently requested testing for the casino to be closed for cleaning and for members to be tested. Management refused. On March 1, the union made five demands:

1. The management to immediately apply comprehensive safety protocols and measures in accordance with WHO guidelines to limit the community spread of COVID-19 in the hotel casino complex [Naga 1 and Naga 2] and ensure the safety of all staffs.

2. All workers of NagaWorld should remain at home without any punishment and on fully salary until it is declared safe.

3. All places in both building must do deep cleaning and disinfecting from specialist group.

4. Stop putting pressure on workers at all forms and all workers must have covid-19 test and confirm negative before return to workplace.

5. Stop suppressing information and to have greater transparency in tackling the community spread of COVID-19

Management again refused to respond to the union’s demands.

Management’s constant refusal to respond to union demands is part of a long history of denying workers the right to union representation.  For more than two decades management has refused to fully recognize the union and dismissed union leaders in 2009 and 2019 attacked unions leaders.

In November 2019, management refused to respond to union calls for measures to protect workers from violence and abuse by customers.

Now in the pandemic – which is accelerating in Cambodia – management is determined to maintain its refusal to fully recognize and negotiate with the union. Even as it puts workers’ lives at risk.

The temporary closure of the hotel casino complex after these outbreaks is the direct result of management negligence. As the union states in its March 1 letter: “It appears that management was more concerned about preventing public awareness of possible community transmission at Naga World. Management instead gave priority to resuming business operations. This negligence put at risk the safety and health of customers and workers and the community as a whole.”

Management negligence is now costing hundreds of workers their jobs and livelihoods. Blaming the temporary closure for lost income, Naga World Hotel Casino is now laying off over 1,300 workers.

The union responded with REDUNDANCY NO! VACCINATION YES! – arguing that if workers are vaccinated and COVID-19 safety measures are put in place, then business can resume.

Management still refused to negotiate with the union. Instead the company escalated the attack on union rights by terminating the union president, vice president and general secretary who raised COVID-19 safety concerns in March.

The 14th IUF Asia/Pacific Regional Conference

The 14th IUF Asia/Pacific Regional Conference

IUF members in Asia and the Pacific exercise their voting rights at the Regional Conference held every five years. According to Article 5 (7) of the Statutes of the IUF Regional Organization for Asia and the Pacific [2016] the Regional Conference is the supreme authority of the Regional Organisation. The Regional Conference passes resolutions, reviews and adopts reports including financial reports, amends the Statutes, elects the Regional Committee, elects the Regional President and elects the Regional Secretary. All of this is done in accordance with the procedures and rules in the Statutes of the IUF Regional Organization for Asia and the Pacific and in accordance with the IUF Rules [2017].

The 13th Regional Conference was held in Manila in October 2016. The 14th Regional Conference was scheduled for October 2021. However, faced with extreme and extaordinary conditions in the COVID-19 pandemic, the 50th Regional Committee Meeting passed Resolution No.5 on October 29, 2020, postponing the 14th Regional Conference to October 2022. It was decided that travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic would affect the ability of many affiliates to send delegates to the Regional Conference. It was understood that any attempt to hold the Regional Conference according to the original plan risked disenfranchising our members. This was a timely and necessary decision made in the interests of the rights of our members and the integrity of the Regional Organization. All affiliated unions were formally notified of this change via email on January 14, 2021. All of the affiliated unions that responded confirmed their support for Resolution No.5.

Based on our current assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic and the slow and unequal rollout of vaccines, we do not consider it possible to hold a physical Regional Conference in October 2022 attended by delegates from all countries. Therefore the 14th Regional Conference will be a hybrid conference – combining both physical and virtual participation. Those who cannot travel will participate virtually from their respective countries. To ensure that all affilated unions can participate in decision-making and voting a series of national and sub-regional consultation meeting will be held. The schedule of these meetings will be finalized in consultation with affiliates.

The schedule and documentation will be provided in different languages in a members only section of this website.

For more information on this schedule and the consultation process, please contact the Regional Secretariat by emailing: 14regcon@iufap.org or submit the form below.

Coca-Cola workers across Asia express solidarity for striking workers in Hong Kong

Coca-Cola workers across Asia express solidarity for striking workers in Hong Kong

Coca-Cola workers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines responded to the strike in Hong Kong with solidarity actions, with messages calling on the company to respect trade union rights and collective bargaining rights.

Coca-Cola Hong Kong to respect collective bargaining rights! Respect union rights @Coca-Cola HK!

 

 

Coca-Cola workers on strike in Hong Kong – “Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong Betrays and Abandons Workers!”

Coca-Cola workers on strike in Hong Kong – “Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong Betrays and Abandons Workers!”

The Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong Beverages Employees General Union launched strike action on May 28 to protest aggressive wage cuts and defend collective bargaing rights.

The union, which is affiliated to HKCTU and the IUF, took industrial action in response to management’s unliteral move to cut wages and change the structure and composition of wages. This not only undermines members’ livelihoods, pushing them even further from a decent wage, but also denies long-established collective bargaining rights at the company. The Swire Coca-Cola Beverages Employees General Union is among the very few private sector unions that has exercised collective bargaining rights for over decades. Now this is under attack.

The banners read “Swire Coca-Cola HK Betrays and Abandons Workers” and “Swire Coca-Cola HK Pay Cuts While Sales Increase”

 

Lee Cheuk Yan replies to charges that criminalize peaceful demonstrations in Hong Kong

Lee Cheuk Yan replies to charges that criminalize peaceful demonstrations in Hong Kong

The General Secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), Lee Cheuk Yan, is currently serving a 14 month sentence under two charges and is scheduled for sentencing on May 28, 2021, charged with unauthorised assembly on 1 October 2019. The President of HKCTU, Carol Ng, is under arrest without bail for participating in democractic election primaries.

In his written plea submitted on May 24, Lee Cheuk Yan decribes the importance of the peaceful demonstration on October 1, 2019, in the ongoing struggle for democratic reform in China. Lee Cheuk Yan also explains the significance of June 4, 1989 and why we must not forget.

Read the full text on the HKCTU website here: Lee Cheuk-yan’s plea: This is my unrequited love, the love for my country with such a heavy heart[HKCTU May 25, 2021]