Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cintri workers clap after hearing the outcome of the meeting held at the company in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district on Wednesday. Heng Chivoan

CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to them in mid-February next year.

After a meeting attended by Phnom Penh municipal deputy governor Keut Che, Cintri representatives and union representatives on Wednesday, Cintri agreed to terminate the employment contracts of all workers on January 31 and provide payments and other benefits as per labour law.

This was announced by Cintri employees’ union president Kao Sovat, who relayed the news to workers waiting outside Cintri, where the meeting was held.

“[Seniority] and other benefits resulting from employment contract termination will be paid to workers no later than the second week of February 2021 and they will be guaranteed by the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall,” Sovat said.

He said workers who went on strike from October 2 to 7 will be paid for that period. However, those who did so from October 8 to 14 will not be paid for that time.

“From today onwards, workers on strike will not be paid wages, in accordance with the labour law, and all workers must return to work as usual from today [Wednesday] in their groups and shifts,” he said.

Municipal deputy governor Che said: “This compensation will be guaranteed by the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration by deducting from the budget package which will result when the contract between Cintri and municipal hall is terminated in January.

“The company will first terminate the contract and then pay seniority and other benefits no later than the second week of February 2021. Everything is solved according to the labour law.”

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cintri employs more than 2,500 rubbish collectors. Heng Chivoan

Che did not confirm the amount that will be paid to the workers, saying labour ministry and relevant institutions are still working out the details.

Cambodian Tourism Workers’ Union Federation (CTWUF) president Touch Kosal said this solution is acceptable because the company has set a clear deadline for workers, giving them the peace of mind needed to return to work.

“From the end of January 2021, when the company will terminate its contract, these workers will no longer be Cintri employees. But if the company can convince them to come back to work, their contracts will be renewed,” he said.

After hearing the outcome, Soeng Sopheak, 43, a Cintri rubbish truck driver for nearly 20 years, said he was happy to return to work after agreeing with the solution provided by the municipal hall.

“I will resume my work tonight. We will try to collect all the rubbish in the capital as soon as possible. I cannot tell yet how many days it will take us to collect the thousands of tonnes of rubbish [that has accumulated] over the past 10 days,” he said.

Sopheak also thanked the municipal hall for helping to collect rubbish while Cintri workers were on strike.

Cintri employs more than 2,500 rubbish collectors.