The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training announced that five more of the nearly 400 former NagaWorld employees who were laid off had willingly accepted severance pay.
According to the ministry’s press release, on May 25 the five former employees of the integrated casino resort – Phan Sothy, Sao Sambath, Ouk Sophoan, Seng Vannarith and Ros Sopheak – accepted the solution that was offered to them. They are among those who previously asked Minister of Interior Sar Kheng to intervene in their dispute.
“As of [May 25], 192 of the 373 former employees had accepted severance pay, with only 181 continuing to reject the compensation offered,” it said.
The ministry said the National Employment Agency has received resumes from them and is assisting them in looking for new job opportunities.
It added that in accordance with the guidelines set by the interior minister, from whom the workers asked for intervention, the payment of severance has been verified with the company representative. The payments were in line with the laws related to dismissal from common work.
Tes Rukhaphal, secretary-general of the ministry’ Committee for the Resolution of Strikes, told The Post that the five former employees had attended a presentation by ministry officials on the formula used to calculate payments last week. On May 25, they decided to accept the severance pay and formally end their employment contracts.
“They listened to the presentation and realised that payments were being calculated according to the law. The severance payment offered was higher than what was legally required, so they decided to accept it voluntarily. No one forced them to accept it, in fact no one could, as it requires their signature,” he said.
He said the labour ministry encouraged the remaining former employees to accept the calculation formula and further explanations.
“Most of those who have not accepted the offer have not heard the ministry’s explanations. Some of them say they have heard that the calculations made by the company were incorrect. When we asked them how it was incorrect, they could not tell us, because they did not know. This is a problem,” he said.
“Some of them did not know how much money they might get, but were told that the payment was not right, as they had expected to receive more,” he said.
Rukhaphal said the amount owed depended on the individual’s role and seniority. He said some former employees had received tens of thousands of dollars in compensation.
Rights group ADHOC spokesman Soeung Senkaruna said it was the strikers’ decision whether to accept the compensation.
“It is not strange that some have accepted payment, because in any situation like this there will be those who want to continue to strike and those who do not,” he said, adding that negotiations between NagaWorld and the former employees remained at an impasse because neither party had so far been willing to concede anything to the other.
He urged the labour ministry to increase its efforts to solve the issue.
As of May 18, the two parties had not found any common ground, despite the ministry mediating 11 meetings between them.
The union representatives and former employees had asked the company to reinstate those who were dismissed from their jobs, while the firm maintained that doing so would be unacceptable as the number of employees would exceed the amount required.