The recent massive strike in the Cambodian casino industry has finally been settled after days of work disruptions, with thousands of local casino employees having returned to work. The strike actions won pay rises to the protesting workers, as well as the reinstatement of a union leader who was given the sack following a campaign for a better deal.
As a matter of fact, disagreements in the local casino industry have been something very rare to happen since stricter measures on the opposition and the press were unveiled prior to the 2018 elections that brought back Cambodia to a one-party state. Nevertheless, NagaCorp casino workers have participated in the strike action with their insufficient payments and rolled out a gambling industry campaign that was strategically right in their case.
Their efforts resulted in a new deal under which NagaCorp’s employees will receive pay raises in the range from 18% to 30%. So far, casino workers have been paid between $191 and $230 on a monthly basis, and gambling floor staff got salaries between $230 and $370, which is quite low for the sector. The workers, who have been on strike, had also complained about the unfavorable conditions in the dormitories they had been forced to live in.
Casino employees’ complaints have been even better-aimed at the gambling sector considering the large profits generated by the NagaCorp Casino that currently holds an exclusive gaming monopoly within a 200-kilometer zone around Phnom Penh.
NagaCorp Says Casino Workers’ Strike Was a Crime
As mentioned above, Chhim Sithar, the workers’ union leader, was given the sack after printing T-shirts with a slogan saying that the gambling operator is expanding while its employees are not getting enough money in return to their work. Following the workers’ strike action, he was reinstated to his position.
Unfortunately, experts do not believe that was the end of legal hurdles. The Municipal Court of Phnom Penh issued an order against the industrial action after the company filed a request. Apart from that, the court issued a warning that any strike action would be considered a serious offense in case workers proceed with it. The employees, however, disregarded the order, which led to an even more serious move as thousands of them went on protests outside the NagaCorp casino.
In NagaCorp’s opinion, the strike was nothing other than crime, as it shared in a statement. Things escalated with the court ordering a probe into the union leaders of NagaWorld for breaching its initial order for the strike action to be ceased. According to reports, some of them are facing contempt of court charges.
Regardless of these consequences for some union leaders, the victory won by the Cambodian casino workers is considerable, with them finally winning the desired pay rises. Their efforts could also make other workers in different sectors to follow suit and seek a change in the status quo.