Siem Reap provincial authorities have stepped in to settle a protest staged by nearly 30 workers in the construction of some of Siem Reap town’s 38 new roads after they rallied to demand their payment – which their manager has not paid for several months.
On February 12, workers gathered to stage a protest demanding their salaries from the manager identified as Seng Pich, who received a contract from the state to upgrade the roads.
Provincial administration director Sok Thol told The Post on February 14 that the intervention came about after the superintendent refused to pay the workers, leaving them with no choice but to protest and seek help.
The protest ended with the mediation of authorities who informed the workers that they will negotiate with Pich to secure payment.
“The contractor has already collected full payment from the company, but he has not paid the workers. The case has been called to mediation,” he said.
One of the protesting workers who asked not to be named said: “My group of nearly 30 were building five roads around the Old Market in Svay Dangkum commune, but Seng Pich never paid our salaries.
“Instead, he lent $100, $150 or even $250 to some workers. Now we have finished the construction, but Pich still has not paid us. He claims the company has not paid him yet.”
He said most of the workers had not received any money for three months, with some of them owed up to five. Their salaries ranged from $300 to $500.
Pich could not be reached for comment on February 14.
Hai Yong, an official with the Siem Reap public works office, told The Post that the dispute was not between the construction firm and workers, but between workers and a manager from the engineering department, which was in charge of the 38-road project.
He said that after the protest, the authorities provided the money that the manager refused to give to the workers, and they agreed to end the protest.
“The workers were employed by the engineering team, which had been allocated a budget from the ministry to implement the project. Some workers had not been paid because they were absent from work. However, we have resolved the issue,” Yong said.