Tailandia - Car company sacks prominent labour activist

In April 2016, IT Forging (Thailand) Co., Ltd, an automotive manufacturer, submitted a petition to the Regional Labour Court to fire Boonyuen Sukmai, a labour activist who was awarded the 2014 Somchai Neelapaijit Prize for his work in promoting labour rights. Boonyuen was a member of the company’s employees committee, which was why the employer is required to obtain court permission to fire him.

According to the company he had overspent his leave of absence, thereby violating the company’s code of conduct. His active defence of workers’ rights may have been the real reason, however. He had been a member of the Labour Protection Department of the National Labour Council before serving in several other posts as a regional labour union leader in Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard. In addition to his activism with the labour unions, he opened his house to give consultations to workers, and was elected by the workers as an employee representative on the Social Security Committee of IT Forging in 2014.

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