Workers seek pay from erring overseas employment agency
AN overseas employment agency that failed to deliver on its promise to find work abroad for several Myanmar citizens has breached an agreement it made on September 23 to pay compensation to 26 workers it contracted with earlier this year.
In July, the Perfect Company employment agency sent nearly 300 workers to Thailand, where they were left jobless for about two months despite paying agency fees of between K450,000 (US$353) and K600,000 each.
Twenty-six of those workers were returned to Myanmar against their will by the agency, in cooperation with Thai police, and sought to recoup some of their losses.
The company signed an agreement in front of labour union and industry officials on September 23 to provide some compensation to the 26 workers.
So far, however, Perfect Company has yet to make good on the payment pledge.
“We will sue the company if they do not pay soon. We want compensation for being jobless in Thailand for 70 days,” said one of the migrant workers, Ko Kyaw Soe Han.
While unemployed, the workers faced serious food shortages and had to rely on donations and handouts from social services organisations in Thailand. Many of them took out loans to pay for the brokerage fees.
According to Ko Hein Latt, an official from the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM), the agency must pay the workers 75 percent of the wages promised for the days they were unemployed.
The 26 workers seeking compensation have alleged that they were subjected to dangerous working conditions once employment was found for them and say they were deported once they complained about the poor labour conditions they faced.
The workers claim the offending agency also owes them 13 days in wages, in addition to the compensation they are owed for the time spent unemployed.
The CTUM has said it will take the matter further if the workers choose to, in the event that no payment from the agency is forthcoming. They also allege that the agreements between the workers and the agency may have been entered into illegally.
Several attempts by The Myanmar Times to reach Perfect Company for comment were unsuccessful.
Migrant worker Ko Thet Naing Oo shows his contract from the Perfect overseas employment agency on October 21.