16 February, 2017IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in Thailand have met with the Ministry of Labour in Bangkok to pursue concerns highlighted in a complaint made to the International Labour Organization (ILO).
IndustriALL affiliates used the meeting on 10 February to pressure the government to resolve ongoing cases of labour rights violations. Thai unions also raised a labour dispute concerning a newly registered union at an auto-part supplier in Prachinburi Province. Y-Tec Thailand recently dismissed workers’ bargaining representatives and founding members of the Prachinburi Automobile Part Workers Union (registered in January 2017).
IndustriALL, which has seven trade union affiliates in Thailand, filed the complaint to the ILO in October 2015, citing the government’s failure to protect workers from anti-union discrimination and unfair labour legislation.
Thai law fails to provide the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining to about 75 per cent of the workforce of 39 million, leading the country to have the lowest unionization rate in the whole of South-East Asia at 1.5 per cent.
The ILO Committee for the application of international standards, which considered the complaint, has called on the Royal Government of Thailand “to take the necessary measures to ensure that workers are effectively protected against acts of anti-union discrimination at all times, both in law and in practice, and that this protection covers all legitimate trade union activities, including those relative to the establishment of workers’ organizations.”
The ILO has offered technical assistance to the government to speed up the revision process of Thai labour law, in order to align legislation with the principles of freedom of association and collective bargaining, and to ensure that issues raised in the complaint are properly addressed.