The Naga World Hotel Casino in Phnom Penh offers “state-of-the-art amenities, for the comfort and the convenience of both business and leisure guests.” The hotel casino’s 4,400 workers, however, face daily exposure to violence, threats, abuse and humiliation.
Workers in the hotel, recreation and gaming areas have been physically assaulted, had hot drinks thrown in their faces, and are sexually harassed. There are no consequences for guests and customers who behave violently or abusively.
In June this year, the ILO adopted Convention 190 on combatting violence and harassment in the world of work, which affirms that workers have the right to be protected from violence and harassment by ‘third parties’, including clients, customers and service providers. The situation at Naga World is typical of the violence that workers in the hospitality sector routinely face while doing their jobs.
For years, the union has called for action by management to curb violence and sexual harassment. Management has responded that customers may respond aggressively when they lose at gambling and nothing can be done; workers must apologize to guests who assault and abuse them, and get on with the job.
On October 30, the union formally called on management to convene a meeting to discuss creating internal guidelines on abusive behavior and sexual harassment, with sanctions that include being banned from the premises, as well as guidelines for managers, security and staff to follow in case of incidents of violence.
Naga World Management has failed to respond, just as it has failed to respond to the union’s demand for recognition and collective bargaining rights. The union president who signed the October 30 letter to management, Sister Chhim Sithar, was suspended on September 20 for defending her members’ right to collectively bargain their wages. (If you have not had a chance to do so, CLICK HERE to demand her immediate reinstatement).
Union members are wearing pink masks travelling to and from Naga World Hotel Casino to highlight their demand for negotiated measures to protect them from violence and abuse.