Work­ers con­test Thai court’s rul­ing

The Myanmar Times - - News - NYAN LYNN AUNG nyan­lin­aung@mm­times.com

IN a case that threat­ens to turn the spot­light on al­leged abuses in Thai­land’s poul­try farm­ing in­dus­try, 14 Myan­mar mi­grant work­ers are to press ahead with de­mands for sub­stan­tial com­pen­sa­tion from a fac­tory in Lop­buri prov­ince.

U Sein Htay, chair of the Thai­land­based Mi­grant Work­ers Rights Net­work (MWRN), said his or­gan­i­sa­tion would as­sist them in pre­par­ing an ap­peal against com­pen­sa­tion they con­sid­ered too low. The ap­peal will be filed by Septem­ber 4.

He said the work­ers re­ceived a fixed 6900 baht (US$200) per month, rather than the Thai gov­ern­mentstip­u­lated min­i­mum wage of 300 baht per day. They had to work for 65 days straight be­fore get­ting just three days off, with work­days stretch­ing from 7am to 5pm.

“All the work­ers were legally em­ployed, but the man­age­ment forced them to work un­der these con­di­tions and re­fused to pay the com­pen­sa­tion stip­u­lated by law,” he said, de­scrib­ing the terms of the ap­peal.

Tham­makaset Farm has been the ob­ject of al­le­ga­tions that it abuses its largely Myan­mar mi­grant work­force, and was served with a law­suit on June 28.

The work­ers al­lege the fac­tory owner forced them to log over­time with­out ex­tra pay and to work with­out proper breaks. They de­manded com­pen­sa­tion for be­ing forced to work pun­ish­ing hours for less than the min­i­mum wage.

Ac­cord­ing to the MWRN, the court or­dered the farm own­ers to pay 1.7 mil­lion baht com­pen­sa­tion for the 14 Myan­mar mi­grant work­ers, well be­low the 4 mil­lion baht com­pen­sa­tion for abuse that the work­ers had de­manded.

Ko Naing Win, 28, has worked at the farm for more than three years. He told The Myan­mar Times that the work­ers de­served the com­pen­sa­tion be­cause of the abuse they had suf­fered.

“The court judge­ment is not fair. They’re award­ing us only 100,000 baht. We’ve de­cided to ap­peal,” he said, adding that each worker should

‘The man­age­ment ... re­fused to pay the com­pen­sa­tion stip­u­lated by law.’

U Sein Htay

Mi­grant Work­ers Rights Net­work have re­ceived 400,000 baht.

MWRN said it had been try­ing to direct in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion to the Thai poul­try in­dus­try, which they said had long avoided the kind of crit­i­cism the seafood in­dus­try has faced de­spite also be­ing rife with abuse.

“I hope the case will be re­solved soon, and the court will take a look at the chicken mar­ket,” said MWRN vice chair U Aung Kyaw.

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