Monday, 22 October 2012

Violence between Thai and Myanmar workers

The Bangkok Post reports ("Workers clash in Ayutthaya camp") on fighting between Thai workers and Myanmar migrant workers at a work camp in Ayuttaya:
One Thai and two Myanmar workers were seriously injured during a clash at a camp site in tambon Nong Nam Sai, Phachi district, Ayutthaya province last night, district chief Withit Pinnikorn said on Monday.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Can manufacturing succeed In Myanmar?

Forbes reports on potential developments in Myanmar's light manufacturing sector. The article reports that the 2011 strike wave pushed the government to set a temporary minimum wage. I note that this fits with what Federico Deyo refers to as a "politics of social disorder" where autonomous industrial actions, if sufficiently extensive, can achieve broader political objectives than the immediate grievances articulated by workers in a given struggle.
The ongoing quest for low cost production has drawn manufacturers’ attention to a small Southeast Asian nation [Myanmar] that has been out of the sourcing network for nearly a decade.

Migrants subscribe to social security in Thailand

The Nation reports on the registration of migrants for social security in Thailand:
Only 217,972 immigrant workers who registered their nationalities subscribed to the Social Security Office (SSO) to receive the same seven benefits as Thai workers, SSO chief Jeerasak Sukhonthachart said yesterday.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

ASSK's push to liberalize markets

The Institutional Investor states it clearly: With Aung San Suu Kyi's push for market liberalisation, “The next few years will be revolutionary years in Myanmar” for foreign and domestic companies.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

200,000 Burmese face deportation from Thailand

The Irrawaddy reports on the Thai government's planned deportation of unregistered migrant workers in December 2012, when the deadline for temporary passport registration will pass.
About 200,000 illegal Burmese migrant workers are among some 400,000 illegal foreign workers who are due to be deported back to their respected countries in December this year, according to a report by the Bangkok Post, a Thailand-based newspaper.

Monday, 15 October 2012

ITUC to open office in Myanmar

The Myanmar Times reports on the ITUC's plans to open an office in Myanmar:
The International Trade Union Confederation plans to open an office in Myanmar to help workers improve their skills, the confederation’s general secretary said last week.

Taw Win workers strike over ‘unfair’ managers

 The Myanmar Times reports on a strike of timber factory workers in Yangon:
Hundreds of workers from Taw Win timber factory protested outside the Taw Win headquarters on Yangon’s U Wisara Road last week, calling for a meeting with the company’s managing director to discuss their grievances.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Controlling the flow of migrant workers

Bernama News reports on the Thai government's promotion of government-to-government labour migration agreements.
Thailand plans to import migrant workers under government-to-government (G-to-G) agreements, beginning with those from neighbouring Myanmar... the G-to-G labour import will save time and money, and that the number of imported workers will be based on demand from the local private sector. Meanwhile, the National Fisheries Association of Thailand has sought an official permission to bring in about 50,000 foreign workers and the Thai government's committee on foreigners' work has approved its import of workers from Bangladesh. The association however, according to the committee, must work out regulations on the employment of foreign workers and to draft measures to prevent foreign workers from leaving the Thai fishing industry for other kinds of jobs. Thai Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap noted that to prevent human trafficking, the import of workers for the Thai fishing industry will be the sole responsibility of the National Fisheries Association of Thailand and local employers are required to have standard and annual employment contracts for the migrant workers.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Will migrants return any time soon?

Will developments in Myanmar lead to a sudden return of migrants from Thailand? I don't expect any sudden shift in the next 5 years, and only gradually after that point. On this subject, ChannelNewsAsia reports:
[Suu Kyi] called on [migrant workers] to return home. That call, plus the opening Myanmar economy, means Thailand could lose a large number of lower-skilled labourers... Myanmar is opening up and more job opportunities will be created for them, but if a large number of Myanmar nationals decide to go back home, it could cause a labour shortage for Thailand... another seafood wholesaler is more optimistic, believing that many will not go back if their employers have treated them fairly.

Travel restrictions on Mae Sot migrants

The Irrawaddy has details of the travel restrictions on migrants trying to leave Mae Sot. (See here for an earlier statement by MAP Foundation about this.)
Migrant rights groups say that thousands of Burmese workers living in the Thai border town of Mae Sot have been prevented from leaving to search for work elsewhere in Thailand, despite possessing legal work permits that allow them to do so. Yaung Chi Oo, a Mae Sot-based advocacy group that works to protect the rights of Burmese migrant workers, said that factory owners in the town have colluded with local Thai authorities to detain and return workers who attempt to travel to other parts of the country.

Murder of migrants by cop/boss

Reports of Myanmar migrant workers allegedly murdered by a police employer. "Worker shows shooting site," The Nation, 27 September 2012
Kala, the Myanmar man who allegedly worked for police doctor Pol Colonel Supat Laohawattana for years and said he had been tortured by his boss and forced to bury other workers, was summoned by the police yesterday to identify the spot where a couple were allegedly shot.