Cambodians in Olympic job row

PHNOM PENH (AP) – Impoverished Cambodian laborers, promised lucrative construction jobs in Greece for the Olympics, said yesterday they feared they had been cheated and demanded their deposits back. About 100 of the 1,200 workers hired by a local company on behalf of a Canadian construction firm demonstrated outside an office of the Labor Ministry. They said they had paid 500 dollars each as a deposit for jobs on building projects for the Athens 2004 Games. «We have run out of patience,» said a 41-year-old former hotel worker, Chhov Leng, who spoke on behalf of the laborers. «We don’t have any more faith in this thing. It is a complete failure.» The workers were hired earlier this year, promised wages of at least 4 dollars an hour – a small fortune in Cambodia where civil servants make an average of 20 dollars per month- and told they would leave in August for Greece. They are still in Cambodia. The hiring was done by Cambodian Consultant and Associate on behalf of Montreal-based J.R.N. International, which claims to have a contract for construction work in Athens.

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