Thursday, 10 March 2016

Backpay win for piece-rate migrant factory workers in Thailand

It is indeed significant that migrant piece-rate workers in Thailand have won a backpay claim. But insofar as these workers were employed within the factory for set hours (e.g. 8:00-5:00), this is not unprecedented. Migrant factory workers similarly on piece-rates in Mae Sot have won such claims before, since they can argue that set hours require minimum wage payment under Thai labour law. Truly significant would be a victory for a backpay claim (or, indeed, any labour rights claim) made by piece-rate workers employed outside the factory and without set hours, such as home-based "putting-out workers" in Mae Sot's garment sector.  As Nyan Lynn Aung at the Myanmar Times reports:
A Thai fisheries factory has further capitulated to the demands of its workers and agreed to equally compensate all labourers in a company-wide settlement – a development rights advocates say is virtually unprecedented. The new terms will extend to 200 mostly Myanmar staffers on a “piecemeal” contract who were initially overlooked. At the end of February, the factory agreed to shell out compensation in a rare victory for migrant workers. The workers had been fighting to end a smattering of abuses at the factory, including overcharging for work documents, unpaid overtime and illegal paycheck deductions. The initial settlement deal involved 48 million baht (US$1.3 million) of backpay, divided between 1750 workers, including over 1400 from Myanmar. However, up to 200 workers paid on an output basis said they were not covered in the settlement. Last week the terms were extended, and the “piecemeal” workers were each given 20,000 baht ($566) in backpay.
"Further win for fisheries workers in Thailand," Myanmar Times, 10 March 2016.

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