Prime Minister Hun Sen’s snap decision to scrap toll fees on National Road 4 in January may have proved popular with motorists, but the political “gift” has left some 500 workers without compensation and an unknown number still unemployed.
Former toll booth workers at AZ Distribution Co. yesterday implored the premier to speed up the compensation process after the surprise cancellation of their company’s contract on January 14.
Unemployed toll booth worker Nhor Sitha took to Facebook, claiming she and her co-workers had been thrown into financial hardship. “It’s a serious crisis for us because we were laid off quickly, without any notice,” she wrote.
“Does anyone care about this difficulty? There has been no solution. Please [prime minister], help us.”
Sitha yesterday told the Post that while stripping toll fees from the 210-kilometre highway to Sihanoukville was good for the public, staff still needed to be compensated for their job loss.
Another former employee, who worked at AZ for 12 years and wished to be only known as Sean, said she has been looking for a new job for almost two months, without success.
AZ’s former director of business affairs, Choun Van Dorn, told the Post the company is in negotiations with the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, but did not know how much the government will compensate the company, which will in turn compensate its 500 sacked workers.
Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesperson Pheng Sovichea said the government is looking into the issue but refused to comment further.