about SiRCHESI's recent accomplishments with beer sellers and other members of the Siem Reap community.
SiRCHESI newsletter (pdf-file,600kB)
www.beergirls.org tells the stories of the women
beer sellers in Cambodia. Cambodian Beer Sellers (called locally "beer
girls", a derogatory term, or "beer promoters" or "promotion girls" by
their companies) exclusively sell one brand of beer in bars and
restaurants. Some work on commission and others receive a monthly
salary; either way, they earned only $US81. Evidence-driven "living
wages" ($208 monthly in 2009) --sufficient to feed family-- would add
an additional annual cost of $1500 to each beer seller's
To supplement their
income, about half accept propositions from tourists and local beer
drinkers and exchange sex for money.
Condom use following beer drinking is reduced and
as a high risk group HIV/AIDS prevalence rates 20% (1995-2003). While
they sold on average, in 2009, $16,000 worth of beer (varying by
brands) , they were paid $972 p.a. and without a "living wage" could
not afford to feed their families nor pay themselves for
life-prolonging antiretrovirals; without the latter, death often
followed from 3 months to 2 years after diagnosis. They were easily
replaced with new young women from the countryside, often with less
than 1 hour of training. More insidious than even HIV/AIDS has been
chronic workplace alcoholism or dependency, with women drinking
hazardous and harmful quantities of alcohol - 4-6 standard drinks, 27
nights per month.
Most beer companies though aware of government
research (Green & Lubek, 2010: Lubek et al, 2003)
press stories, have so far declined to play fair with these
women. Prior to 2006, all companies described them as 'promotional or
advertising costs' in their annual reports, rather than as salaried or
commissioned workers or subcontractors, under the Cambodian Labour
The beer companies have failed to 1) pay "living"
wages, 2) provide timely health education, 3) provide company health
benefits, including antiretroviral treatments as needed, and 4) provide
a safe, healthy and secure workplace, free of violence and harassment.
April 2010 press release (pdf) for more information.
For more detailed accounts of how one local NGO,
SiRCHESI (sponsored in part by private donors) works in Siem Reap to
prevent HIV/AIDS in groups at high risk, please visit www.angkorwatngo.com
For more details on the 2013 Internships with SiRCHESI in Cambodia
Download the brochure
The Phnom Penh Post
published an article on August 22nd, on how statistics show job risks
for beer promoters. When confronted with these findings by the leading
English paper in Cambodia, Danish brewer Carlsberg has now publicly
vowed to improve working conditions of their promotional staff. (read
articles of 22
August and 27 August)
Centre for Research on Multinational
Corporations, is an independent, non-profit research and
organisation working on social, ecological and economic issues related
to sustainable development. In August 2012 they released a
under the title Promoting Decency? Major beer companies
earn money on the backs of Cambodian beer promoters. The
report argues how beer promotion workers selling Heineken,
Carlsberg, Bavaria and other beer in Cambodian bars and restaurants
earn too little to make a decent living. (read the report).
March 2012. Follow up on the beer seller's strike. Michelle
Tolson's writes "Cambrew continues to fire its female workers without
legal cause for simply standing up for their rights".
Read her article in full online at www.thewip.net
and also her article in Khmer in the Phnom Penh Post; read
2012. Intensive Internships in Cambodia
Apply for supervised internships in Siem Reap Cambodia in 2012. 2 weeks
(extendable) of intensive field work in HIV/AIDS prevention, alcohol
and violence reduction workshops, anti-trafficking programs,
reproductive health community outreach with peer-educators, as well as
rounds/visits in local hospitals and health centres, VCCT clinic, HAART
more info & how to apply (pdf 3mb).
Aug Cambrew is reported as agreeing to pay Angkor beer
sellers overtime (US$2) for work on Sundays Read
Aug 2011 Beer Sellers Union CSFWF
communicate about the temporary ending of
Read letter (rtf)
Sellers Take Action in Cambodia
Local newspaper stories cover the beer-sellers strike in Cambodia: from
protest outside Cambrew Headquarters in Phnom Penh to campaigns to
Carlsberg and the Deputy Governor intervention with a commitment to
paying overtime and backpay.
photos of the protest
SiRCHESI continues to work to reduce
workplace risks for Beer sellers in Cambodia. Read their latest
newsletter for details.
To continue this important work in 2011 SiRCHESI relies on donations.
a donation and help make a difference to the lives of beer
sellers in Cambodia.
In March 2011 the independent and
non-commercial Belgian newssite De
published an article on the Cambodian beergirls, written by
van Regenmortel, an Oxfam regional casemanager for Asia. The focus on
the article is on the activities of the Cambodian trade unions (see
below). Read the original article through this
link - for translations in other languages please use the
available (online) software, for instance Google translate.
Beer sellers in Siem Reap form a Workers
(Aug, 2010) Read more
Health, safety and security for Cambodian
beer sellers were substandard in 2009: Urgent actions are still
required by all major brewers (AB/INBEV, Carlsberg, HEINEKEN/ Asia
Pacific Breweries, SAB/Miller, Guinness, San Miguel, Bavaria, Asahi,
etc.) Read 2010 report by Michelle Green
& Ian Lubek (pdf)