Cambodian laborers who worked in Guinea asked a domestic rights group on Wednesday to file a complaint with government authorities against a labor supply company which they claim lied to them about the type of work they would perform and failed to pay them all the money they had earned.
Four of the men from the group of 19 workers asked right group Adhoc in Banteay Meanchey province in northwestern Cambodia to file a complaint against the labor supply company Cambodia 777 Energy Africa for lying to them about the work they were to perform and not paying them their full salaries, one of the representatives and human rights group official said.
Sok Saruan, one of the worker representatives, said the company recruited the 19 men earlier this year to work legally in Guinea, promising to pay each U.S. $800 dollars-$1,100 for four months and provide their transportation to the West African country.
But instead, Cambodia 777 Energy Africa did not pay them the amounts it promised or cover the cost of their flights, said the workers, who returned to Cambodia on May 5.
When the men reached Guinea, the company did not comply with the terms of their contracts, and they were asked to install solar panels for four months, they said.
The workers could not buy enough food because the company only paid them for two months of work. Furthermore, they sometimes had to work two eight-hour shifts without a meal break, they said.
“We didn’t have enough food to eat,” Sok Saruan told RFA’s Khmer Service. “We didn’t eat regularly. Sometimes we had to work eight hours extra [after finishing an eight-hour shift],’ Sok Saruan said.
Chim Sophanna, a company official, said Cambodia 777 Energy Africa recruited the 19 workers for a study tour, so they were not formally employees.
“There they had enough food to eat,” he said, but confirmed that the company was late with paying the money that it had agreed to give them.
Sum Chankea, Adhoc’s provincial coordinator in Banteay Meanchey, told RFA that the company lied to the workers about the type of work they would be doing by claiming to offer them only a study tour.
He added that the company had no intention of training any students.
“It was not a study tour because the workers are 50 years old,” Sum Chankea said. “They worked as contractors.”
The 19 workers were recruited from different provinces, including Banteay Meanchey, Takeo, Kandal and Prey Veng, he said.
Reported by Hum Chamroeun of RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.