Tailandia - Dispute at Mitsubishi sees locked out union members subjected to humiliating treatment and 26 union leaders dismissed

Members of the Confederation of Thai Electrical Appliances, Electronic Automobile and Metalworkers (TEAM) employed by Mitsubishi Electric Consumer Products Thailand have been forced to endure lengthy and humiliating training before being reinstated after going on strike in December 2017. The initial dispute, which saw 1,800 union members locked out of the Mitsubishi factory, ended when the union and company reached an agreement through collective bargaining on 29 January 2018, where Mitsubishi agreed to reinstate all locked out workers.
However, before they were reinstated, the workers were required to attend a four-day disciplinary camp at a military base, undergo five days of training with an external human resources firm to “reflect on their wrong doing”, one day of cleaning old people’s homes to “earn merit”, and three days at a Buddhist temple. The workers were also made to post apologies to the company on their personal social media accounts.
Despite undergoing this process, 24 workers had their employment terminated, including ten members of a new union committee that had been elected in June 2018. Two other workers were dismissed after the company sought permission from the labour court.
The workers who were reinstated were required to sign individual contracts, replacing the collective bargaining agreement that expired at the end of September 2018. The contracts contain a clause where the worker must confirm that they are not members of a union. If they refuse, they lose all wage increases and benefits that the new contracts contain. The conduct of the company is a concerning attempt to reduce the strength and influence of TEAM at Mitsubishi Thailand, which has been active for the past 20 years.

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