Tailandia - State Railway of Thailand dismissed half of the union executive committee members (2013)

Following a derailment on October 5, 2009 that resulted in the death of passengers, members of the State Railway Union of Thailand (SRUT) announced that they would refuse to drive trains that had faulty safety measures and equipment. Although the SRUT executive committee members did not strike, they organized a health and safety initiative. Soon after, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) dismissed about half of the union executive committee members.

On December 17, 2010, the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand found that the SRT violated principles of freedom of association and workers’ rights.

On July 28, 2011, the Central Labour Court upheld the dismissals anyway, also ordering the dismissed union committee member and leaders to pay approximately $500,000 USD in fines plus 7.5 percent annual interest accrued from the date of filing.

On August 10, 2011 the State Railway of Thailand, with the permission of the Central Labour Court, dismissed additional members of the SRUT executive committee, including its president. The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court, where it could take at least several years for review. Even though their case awaits review in the Supreme Court, the executive members of the SRUT are no longer considered employees of SRT. Therefore, they are no longer officers or members of the committee and were not able to run for union office at the recent SRUT general assembly.

On April 30, 2013, a formal complaint was made for consideration by the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association against Thailand for failing to adequately respect the rights of trade unions.

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