Tailandia - Burmese migrant workers protest against abuse (2010)

About 5,000 Burmese workers in Saha Farm Co. Ltd. (99) poultry in Samueng Dow, Ratchaburi Province, went on strike on December 18 because of supervisory abuse and violations of Thai labour law. The Burmese were also paid lower wages and provided less benefits than their Thai co-workers. On 18-20 December, more than 3,000 Burmese workers, almost all women, protested at the Top Form Brassiere Mae Sot Factory, Tak Province, after four Thai security officers assaulted two female relatives of an employee on 18 December. Protests resumed on 21 December when workers demanded the reinstatement of workers who were dismissed because of the protest as well as welfare benefits under Thai labour law. Eighteen Burmese nationals who were sold as fishers to two Thai captains were released in 2009 thanks to a joint operation involving the Seafarers’ Union of Burma (SUB), the Labour Rights Promotion Network and the Thai Department of Special Investigation.

Sawit Keawan, General Secretary of Thailand’s State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation (SERC) also filed a complaint with ILO alleging that the Royal Thai Government is in violation of ILO Convention 19, Equality of Treatment (Accident Compensation), by failing to provide Burmese migrant workers access to the Social Security Office’s Workmen’s Compensation Fund following accidents at work. On 20 October 2009, Nang Noom Mae Seng, a female Burmese migrant worker who was left paralyzed after a work related injury in 2006 and two other Burmese migrants workers, petitioned the Supreme Court of Thailand to overturn a Social Security Office’s regulation they claim discriminates against migrant workers in Thailand by denying migrant workers benefits for work related injuries and illnesses that are provided to Thai workers. The commencement of a nationality verification process for Burmese migrants in Thailand – which would place 2 million Burmese migrants at high risk of exploitation – led the State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation, the Human Rights and Development Foundation and the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee to petition the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants.

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