NagaWorld Weekend Strike in Cambodia Does Little to Disrupt Operations

Posted on: December 21, 2021, 09:19h. 

Last updated on: December 21, 2021, 11:34h.

Employees went on strike at Cambodia’s NagaWorld over the weekend. However, their actions had little impact on the casino resort’s operations. It’s now back to the drawing board for the workers.

NagaWorld Strike
NagaWorld employees and government officials gather during a workers’ strike. The incident came to a peaceful end and didn’t disrupt the casino’s operations. (Image: Khmer Times)

NagaWorld, the NagaCorp casino resort in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, has been in a battle with employees and a labor union for much of 2021. Multiple attempts to diffuse the situation have failed, so the workers finally drew the line.

They announced last week that they would strike on Saturday, and carried through on their threat.

However, if the employees expected NagaWorld to fold and give in to their demands, the employees were mistaken. NagaCorp reported on Sunday in a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that only a small handful of employees participated. It added that the strike did not interfere with the casino’s business.

Company Responds

“The Group has adequate labor capital and [a] strong workforce of approximately 6,500 employees (as at the date of this announcement) to support the business operation of the Group,” the company explained.

It seems that NagaCorp never felt threatened by the possibility of a strike. It asserted that it had in its possession a court order that deemed the employee action illegal. While the company has not hinted at the steps it may take next, it could decide to fire those who participated if it believes they participated in illegal activity.

That isn’t likely to happen. However, going after the union that organized the strike is a possibility.

Union ‘Coerced’ Employees into Participation

The union behind the strike, Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of NagaWorld, might have legal problems going forward. Media outlet Khmer Times conducted an investigation that discovered the union had coerced some employees into taking part in the strike.

Responding to anonymous tips by former and current employees, the media outlet uncovered that the union had intimidated hundreds of workers through “text messages, subtle verbal threats, and abuses.”

The union is right to say that the right to unionise is not a crime. If so, what about the right to work and the attempts to incite those who are working and need to work of their own free will. Is it not a crime [for the union] to threaten and intimidate workers working peacefully?” said one anonymous employee.

NagaWorld is still feeling the crunch of COVID-19. It was forced to let some of its staff go and reduce hours. In some circumstances, it lowered pay to overcome the pandemic-induced losses. The union had repeatedly made demands that were never answered, leading to Saturday’s demonstration.

The strike began as a peaceful event but turned ugly as the day progressed. The workers became unruly at times, almost reaching a boiling-over point. However, by 5 PM, the crowd had dispersed and no further incidents were reported.