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Ministry of Labor Announces Resumption of NagaWorld Labor Dispute Resolution Process After Protest Leaders Show Soft Stance

PHNOM PENH: The Royal Government of Cambodia issued an official statement on Tuesday regarding the ongoing NagaWorld Labor Dispute, saying that the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training will continue to mediate and seek a resolution to the dispute, after protest leaders have expressed a soft position regarding negotiations.

According to the statement issued by the Royal Government of Cambodia on the evening of Tuesday, 15 March, the Ministry of Labor will continue to engage in resolving the ongoing labor dispute between NagaWorld Limited and its employees, while seeking for a peaceful resolution.

The statement adds that the Ministry has seen positive signs after the eight protest leaders, who were released on bail on Monday, expressed a soft stance, wanting to negotiate an end to the dispute.

The statement reads, "On 12 March 2022, 8 of the former employees sent letters to the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training seeking intervention to be released on bail and be representatives of employees in resolving the labor dispute with NagaWorld. Through the above-mentioned intervention letters, the Ministry sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice and, in return, the Ministry of Justice sent another intervention letter forwarding it to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Subsequently, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court reviewed the legal process and ruled for the release on bail of the 8 former employees at 19:00 hours on 14 March 2022.”

In 2021, NagaWorld made the decision to reduce its staff by about 25% due to the severe impact of Covid-19 on tourism, and laid off 1,329 employees. About 42% of NagaWorld workers are still union members, of which 373 strongly opposed the layoffs and demanded that the company reinstate them, and other former employees, back to their jobs.

From 18-27 December 2021, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training invited the protesting parties seven times for negotiations, during which the 373 disgruntled workers continued to demand that the company reinstate their jobs and meet their additional demands.

Since then, as of 15 March 2022, 153 out of the 373 former employees have agreed to accept severance pay from the company, now leaving 220 former employees still refusing to accept the compensation.

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