A union representing staff at Cambodia’s three international airports announced on Tuesday that they would wage strikes in two months if contracts requiring staff to take on a number of different roles are not altered.
The threats come amid a legal dispute between the union and Cambodia Airports, which manages the facilities, after the Arbitration Council ruled in the company’s favor after some staff were dismissed, a company spokesman said.
Cambodian Labor Confederation President Ath Thorn speaks at a news conference in Phnom Penh on Tuesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily) Speaking at a news conference in Phnom Penh, Nin Kosal, a legal officer for the Cambodian Labor Confederation, gave Cambodia Airports two months to remove a “multiple skill” clause from contracts requiring workers to take on roles beyond their speciality.
More than 800 workers—including security guards, drivers and controllers—would go on strike if their demands were not met, he said, adding that an extra $16 a month offered to workers for doing work outside of their specialization was not enough.
“For example, if you’re a driver then you work doing deliveries, it is not advantageous to staff because the company only provides $16,” Mr. Kosal said.
The contract was introduced about four years ago, he said, adding that a driver was sacked last year for protesting the practice. Despite the threat to strike, Mr. Kosal said he hoped a solution could be found with Cambodia Airports.
“If they do not agree, we will strike at all three airports in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap at the end of December,” he said.
Khek Norinda, communications director for Cambodia Airports, said that the discord was the result of the Arbitration Council ruling in the company’s favor in the staff dismissals over the dispute.
“The decisions were unfortunately rejected by the unions, but the company nevertheless started a new round of mediation chaired by the civil aviation authorities,” Mr. Norinda said in a message.
“After months of unsuccessful discussions, which we deeply regret, the company has introduced legal actions before the courts in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap for final binding decisions.”
odom@cambodiadaily.com
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