Tailandia - Union leaders locked out for more than one year

TRW Steering and Suspension, which operates a manufacturing facility in one of the industrial estates in Rayong, employs 150 permanent workers and 250 subcontracted workers (who are not eligible under Thai labor law to become union members of the existing industrial union at the facility). On March 30, 2012 the employer unilaterally increased wages without negotiating with the union. The increased wages were below what the workers were expecting, and they began to refuse overtime in protest. The union then proposed wage increases in line with the industry standard. On April 20, workers report that TRW announced a lockout of the three union leaders, including the president. TRW claimed that the union leaders led the workers to slow down the production, which caused damage to the company and violated the company’s rules. The company wrote in a letter to the local union leaders that “the company found that you, together with some workers in the production line, intended to slow down the production.” The lockout continues, more than a year since it was implemented. Although many mediation meetings were held involving the provincial labor office and labor court, the workers were pressured to accept an offer from the employer to drop their complaint and resign. Two of the locked-out union leaders insisted on reinstatement, while the locked out union president had to accept the company offer and resign because of financial difficulties. The remaining locked out union leaders believe that the labor courts and provincial labor office have not been working to reinstate them but are instead pressuring them to take the company offer and resign. The case is ongoing.

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