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Cambodia gas station workers on strike

Published on Monday, 12 May 2014

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Workers at U.S.-owned Caltex gas stations in Cambodia went on strike Monday to demand higher wages and better working conditions.

A strike leader, Sar Mora, said at least 250 Cambodian employees halted work, forcing at least 17 of the country’s 26 Caltex stations to suspend operations.

Sar Mora said workers were demanding a minimum wage of US$160 a month, up from the current pay scale of US$100-US$130. They are also demanding a one-month annual bonus, an annual party and day care facilities for children.

Chanlek Than, a spokeswoman for Chevron Corp., the owner of Caltex, said it is working with “local authorities and union representatives” to resolve the dispute.

“We are disappointed that our unionised service station colleagues have taken the drastic action to stop work instead of following legal processes to resolve the matter that would have enabled us to continue the supply of fuel products and minimise inconvenience to the public,” she said in an emailed reply to a query.

Rising expectations among Cambodia’s industrial and service workers have fuelled labour unrest, with labourers in the country’s massive textile sector staging strikes and demonstrations late last year and in January for a higher minimum wage and loosely linking themselves with the political opposition.

Caltex is considered a premium brand in Cambodia compared to local competitors, whose prices are lower.