NagaCorp, a Cambodian casino operator, is reportedly laying off close to 600 employees, with employees receiving messages about the layoff since last week.
The decision may be attributed to the ongoing pandemic restrictions placed on the casino industry; however, the workers noted that the company reported a profit of $102.3m for 2020.
“They have just announced the dividend payout,” said Ben Lee, managing partner of iGamix. “For a company that’s making so much money, why would they need to let go of their staff?”
According to Lee, the move to lay off staff doesn’t make sense, as the workers usually earn only a few hundred dollars a month.
The new round of layoffs follows a stricter staff cut that was announced in April, when the company let go 1,329 workers at the Phnom Penh casino.
The operator maintained the reason behind the layoffs was the ongoing closure of the venue, but workers argue the layoffs were meant to interfere with union presence in the workplace.
Chhun Sokha, Vice President of the NagaWorld Union, says more than 500 of the laid-off workers were union members and that NagaWorld is being discriminatory. The list of staff that were laid off includes people who worked in the company for a decade or longer, as well as pregnant women.
Sokha also noted the company was willing to donate close to $10m to the Cambodian Government to help with its Covid-19 efforts, but wasn’t willing to help its workers keep their jobs.
"We are happy for the generosity of the company that is providing the Government with subsidies to help the Cambodian people during the Covid-19 crisis," she said.
“This gesture is just a fake, a hoax picture because the actions that the company has taken regarding the employees – mostly women, including, pregnant women and women who have given birth – also got the company's layoff notification."