Source: Khmer Times, Tuesday, 03 February 2015; News by Khmer Times/Va Sonyka and Ven Rathavong
PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – City bus drivers held a strike on Tuesday, demanding more money for their services. However public buses were still running in the capital, despite the strike.
Eleven bus drivers were on strike at a bus stop near the night market at Wat Phnom to demand $200 more per month.
A driver who joined the strike, Teng Komsan, said that City Hall had promised to give them $280 to $300 per month. Despite the promises, the city bus drivers currently only make $180.
“I will quit the job,” Mr. Komsan said, adding that several drivers have gone back to work because they needed to support themselves.
City Hall released a statement on its Facebook page to clarify the problem.
“Since the public bus has been fully sponsored by the head of government, Phnom Penh city hall has paid for the buses at a loss, forgoing any income; all drivers are the contracted staff of city hall without any formal agreement,” the statement said.
The spokesman for Phnom Penh City Hall, Long Dimanche, said the city could not increase their salary despite the demands. He added that City Hall never promised to increase their salary.
This is the second time that bus drivers have gone on strike to try to increase their monthly wages.
City Hall told them during their previous strike in October of last year that they will reconsider the driver wages if they can find a way to make a profit from the public bus system.
According to data from the city’s Facebook page, an average of 6,000 passengers take the public bus per day, yet the city only receives payment from about 3,000 passengers.
Even with the striking drivers, City Hall says it has already hired other drivers to take their place.
Mr. Dimanche said, “If they are appreciative of their jobs, they can continue to work with us. But if they aren’t thankful of the work they get, they can resign and go to work with another private company.”