November 29, 2022 3 min read


LRSU Leader Re-Arrested as Strike at NagaWorld Continues

The labor union leader at the center of the ongoing strike at NagaWorld resort was re-arrested on Saturday, November 26, at Phnom Penh International Airport, raising further questions as to how the dispute between the casino and some of its workers is being approached by the courts.

Violation of Travel Restrictions

The head of the Labour Rights Supported Union (LRSU) of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, Chhim Sithar, was detained at the airport upon her arrival from a 12-day trip to Australia, The Phnom Penh Post reported.

According to the court order issued by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Sithar was arrested and placed in pre-trial detention for leaving the country without permission while under court supervision. The head of the union was arrested in January this year, alongside other union leaders, for allegedly inciting social chaos during the strike but was released on bail in March.

The re-arrest of Sithar ired the deputy director of LICADHO, Am Sam Ath, who claimed that she and her lawyers were not notified of being under supervision or restricted from traveling and that a defense lawyer from the rights group and Sithar’s lawyers would meet with her in prison today.

“The re-arrest of Chhim Sithar constitutes a further threat and intimidation of the union at NagaWorld,” he claimed, pointing to the actions as an intimidation tactic to NagaWorld employees and former employees who are still on strike and fighting for a fair solution.

Sam Ath also suggested that the better approach would have been to find a solution to the dispute rather than arrest the union leader as a display of judiciary power. He was adamant that the arrest of Sithar constitutes an unjust restriction of the civic space and freedom of the labor unions, impeding on fundamental public freedoms.

Employment Dispute Continues

Employees of NagaWorld integrated casino resort went on strike last year, demanding that the casino operator rehire the employees it had laid off in April, claiming that they had been laid off because of their links to the union.

Indeed, most of the laid-off employees are members of the LRSU but NagaCorp argued that the layoffs were due to the impact of the pandemic on the business. The ongoing dispute at the integrated casino resort in Cambodia will mark one year next month.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training said in a press release that five additional workers at the resort requested the Minister of the Interior to intervene, secure their seniority payments and end their contracts with NagaCorp so that they can seek another employment.

The National Employment Agency (NEA) signaled its intent to assist former workers at the resort in their search for new jobs.

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