Cambodian integrated resort NagaWorld has issued a public statement following recent criticism over employee layoffs, claiming 73% of those affected had accepted a Mutual Separation Plan (MSP) and denying claims the exercise was used to reduce union representation.
The statement is in response to a series of protests conducted outside NagaWorld, located in Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh, since mid-December which resulted in more than 20 people being arrested.
Citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business volumes, NagaWorld said it had been forced to embark on a number of cost-cutting measures including “the reduction of human costs, especially where there [are] significant excesses and staff force which are idle.”
As such, the company offered affected workers an MSP it says provided enhanced compensation over and above that required by Cambodian Labor Law, however “360 out of a total 1,329 affected employees refused to accept the MSP.”
While a strike notice issued by the workers’ union on 18 December was ruled illegal by the court, NagaWorld denied allegations that it used the layoffs to target members of the Labor Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of NagaWorld (LRSU).
According to details contained in the public statement released by Nagaworld, 3,976 or 47% of NagaWorld’s 8,371 employees were union members as of 31 December 2020, since reduced to 2,572 or 42% of the remaining 6,181 employees as of 31 December 2021.
“The choice of the impacted staff is based on internal rules of the company based on business needs, past productivity, contribution and commitments and others, regardless of the unionized or non-unionized staff, locals and expatriates [or] front-line and management employees,” NagaWorld said.
“Union membership was not used as a criterion as is alleged by the union.”
The company had previously said it was looking to save up to US$2 million per month in run-rate operating costs when the workers were let go.