Police have arrested 15 workers at integrated resort NagaWorld in Phnom Penh for what they described as an illegal protest against layoffs conducted by the company last April.
According to a report by Reuters, the workers – who have been striking in front of the property since mid-December – are demanding the reinstatement of 365 employees who they claim have not been properly compensated.
Cambodian authorities had issued a statement over the weekend in which they called the protests illegal and a threat to public order and safety before arresting the 15 workers on Monday.
Workers’ Union chief Chhim Sithar told Reuters, “Information we received from our members is that 15 people, including a pregnant woman, have been arrested.
“Up to this hour, none of [the] workers’ demands [have] been solved but instead authorities have arrested unionists, activists and strikers.”
Another nine people arrested on New Year’s Day have already been charged with “incitement to cause serious chaos to social security.”
NagaWorld’s parent company NagaCorp confirmed last June that it had laid off a number of staff in order to maintain operational and financial flexibility while operations in Cambodia were suspended due to COVID-19.
The company said at the time that it had taken “proactive measures to manage the situation” including a rationalization program to improve cost efficiency, but added it was providing affected employees with “enhanced termination compensation over and above payments required by the applicable Cambodian laws to assist their transition into other career or business interests.”
The majority of affected employees have signed mutual separation agreements, it said.
NagaCorp was looking to save up to US$2 million per month in run-rate operating costs when the workers were let go.