Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Two strikes by migrants in Thailand

Regarding the Phatthana Seafood Company strike, which the Phnom Pehn Post covered yesterday, Australia's ABC quotes the following comments by Mahidol University's Andy Hall:

"The management apparently decided to reduce the benefit for the workers and almost immediately a protest erupted... Workers were very angry so they gathered outside of the gate, and it started to get a little bit heated and there were police brought in, shots fired and now we just have a situation where we have a lock-out. The evidence suggests this is quite a large factory and an international exporter from what the reports have been saying. If so then the conditions would be particularly bad because generally with these international factories they are monitored quite closely. We often find that in smaller factories with smaller workforces - prawn peeling sheds or things like that - we often find very exploitative conditions including trafficking, forced labour, violent failure to adhere to the minimum labour standards. But this is an exceptional case because the workers actually are some of the first workers to come in through the new legal import system. International importers rules outlaw debt bondage and the holding of passports by employers, and Mr Hall says Australia should be asking questions about the origins of its seafood. Seafood is one of the most significant export products from Thailand - making up something like 50 per cent goes to the US. But there's also a large amount going to Europe, Australia and within Asia and this is the responsibility of the corporations. It is also the responsibility of people in countries like Australia to be asking and demanding answers about where their seafood does come from."

Regarding a separate strike by Myanmar migrants in Kanchanaburi Province, the Bangkok Post provides this rather insufficient article:

More than 4,000 workers, mostly foreign labour, on Wednesday staged a protest at a pineapple factory in Kanchanaburi province, demanding the government's promised 300 baht daily minimum wage. Reports said most of the workers are from neighbouring Myanmar. Police arrived at the factory to deal with the protesters.

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