The strike was mostly a snap decision. The union had complied with most of the legal procedures but had not taken the case to Arbitration - a requirement for a legal strike in Cambodia. So we were expecting an injunction from the court at any time - but this didn't happen (possibly because of the week-long national holiday).
More than 300 workers in Phnom Penh joined the strike and they were militant. They shuttered all of the capital's Caltex stations which service the city's population of almost two million. The company called multiple negotiations but offered little. They were adamant they wanted to conduct a wage survey and delay the process of negotiations again. Negotiations had been ongoing for more than four months already. So workers would not accept a survey or more delays - even when offered cash incentives to return to work. They held solid.
After almost two weeks, Chevron head office started to communicate http://www.business-humanrights.org/Links/Repository/1027553/jump and the process moved quickly from May 20.
On May 21 Caltex workers won a $20 wage increase across the board. Cleaners increased their wage from $100 to $120 per month; customer service attendants (CSAs) from $110 to $130 per month; and cashiers from $130 to $150 per month.
Also workers will be paid during the strike.
It was short of the $160 demanded but union members were very happy with the result - and vow to continue their push for $160 after their case goes to the Arbitration Council.
Following the result there was an issue with the agreements offered by the company. Each workers was requested to sign an agreement noting their salary increase and right to payment during the strike, but with conditions not previously discussed in negotiations such as changes to internal rules for dispute resolution procedures extending the process as long as two months, and provisions attempting to limit the right to strike in the future.
The union responded again and picketed one the most central Caltex stations. After 24 hours the union and company decided that two dubious provisions of the new agreements would be subject to Arbitration in the coming weeks.
All Caltex stations in Phnom Penh are now open again.