Tailandia - Michelin continues discrimination against union members (2011)

The Tripartite Industrial Relations Committee (IRC) ruled on 24 June that France-based Michelin Tyre Company’s (Michelin) management at its plant in Laem Chabang, Chonburi Province, violated the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act of 1975. The decision was in relation to a dispute that arose in March 2009 when plant workers signed a petition to protest the company’s unilaterally imposed 35% wage cut. Management locked out employees who refused to remove their names from the petition. Twenty-two union members were arrested, suspended from their jobs, and faced criminal charges filed with police by company officials.

The IRC noted that Michelin discriminated against 12 union members of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ (ICEM)-affiliated Petroleum and Chemical Workers’ Federation (PCFT-ICEM) whom it had previously reinstated on 18 January – but not to their former jobs. The IRC had ordered management to reinstate the 12 workers to jobs inside the factory equivalent to those they held previously within ten days of the decision. Michelin did not comply fully with the court decision when it reinstated the 12 workers on 18 January, and the 12 refused their new job assignments, filing a complaint with the IRC. With respect to the criminal charges filed against union members, a Chonburi Provincial court set a hearing for 4 November 2011 to address the company’s charge that the workers blocked the exit to the factory.

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