In Cambodia and a local labor union has reportedly announced that its members with jobs at the gambling-friendly NagaWorld facility will be going on strike from Sunday as part of a row over pay and recent staff redundancies.

According to a report from GGRAsia, the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of NagaWorld organization is demanding that the operator of the Phnom Penh venue, NagaCorp Limited, reverse an earlier series of lay-offs and rehire any workers that may have lost their jobs in the interim. The source detailed that the trade union is also asking the proprietor to increase the wages for all those still employed at the 1,658-room development and offer a suitable severance package to anyone who may have been made redundant.

Pandemic precautions:

The first stage of the 21-story NagaWorld opened in 2003 with the subsequently-enlarged enterprise now playing host to a pair of luxury spas, over 20 food and beverage outlets and a 75,300 sq ft casino offering a selection of some 1,900 slots and 500 gaming tables. However, NagaCorp Limited temporarily shuttered the giant property located along the banks of the Mekong River in March following a rise in local coronavirus infections and only recommenced limited operations some seven months later under a series of strict public health and safety protocols.

Ruthless reaction:

GGRAsia reported that NagaCorp Limited responded to this closure by immediately initiating a series of pay cuts before launching a round of mandatory lay-offs in June. The Hong Kong-listed company purportedly asserted at the time that these ‘proactive measures’ formed part of an ongoing effort that would allow it to secure the long-term future of the Cambodian facility and help to better manage a first-half debt that had ballooned by over 470% year-on-year to approximately $77.2 million.

Antagonistic appeal:

Although NagaCorp Limited has yet to publicly comment on the upcoming strike, Cambodia’s Labour and Vocational Training Minister, Ith Samheng, reportedly called on the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of NagaWorld to ‘remove’ some of its demands and delay the planned action. Nevertheless, the union purportedly used an official press release to divulge that the exercise would be going ahead and feature its members picketing the entrances to the 187.5-acre facility.

Determined defence:

Sithar Chhim from the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of NagaWorld reportedly disclosed that her organization had decided to take direct action following the failure of an earlier round of government-mediated talks between staff members and the management of NagaCorp Limited. She purportedly added that the upcoming strike could involve as many as 2,000 people with approximately 70% of these being existing NagaWorld employees.