Camboya - Consistent attempts to weaken the union at Cambrew

In April 2017 the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation (CFSWF) publicly denounced attempts by Cambrew, Cambodia’s largest brewery, whose biggest partner in the country is Carlsberg, to weaken union representation. Union members were being asked to resign in return for money. Simply firing them could have violated the labour law, and the company would have had to pay severance. According to the vice-president of the CFSWF, Ou Tepphallin, one of the union members was given USD 10,000 to resign.

The union saw the move as part of persistent attempts to undermine union and workers’ rights, pointing to several examples including the 2016 firing of 11 female beer promoters who were protesting at unfair and exploitative contracts.

Cambrew continued its attempts to weaken the union by taking it to court in April 2017 to demand punitive financial “compensation” for the strike in August 2016 at the Cambrew warehouse in Sihanoukville in response to the discriminatory dismissals of the beer promoters.

On 23 June the head of the CFSWF Sar Mora appeared before Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court on behalf of his federation in relation to the USD 60,000 lawsuit. According to Sar Mora, the company filed a civil case against the federation, citing “harassment”, rather than a case based on the Labour Law. “I think the real cause is that Cambrew doesn’t want our independent union in their company, and from time to time they make threats to our members, activists and union leaders,” he said.

Cambrew’s claim for USD 60,000 against the Cambodian CFSWF was dismissed by the Cambodian Provincial Court in Sihanoukville on 21 July.

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