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Thai workers demand Ratification of ILO Conventions 87 and 98

16 October, 2023On World Day for Decent Work, 7 October, approximately 800 trade unionists marched from the Democracy Monument to the United Nations office in Bangkok, calling for an end to precarious work, a stop to reforming the state enterprise and Ratification of ILO Conventions 87 and 98. 

The network driving ILO Conventions 87(on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize) and 98 (on Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining) demands that the Thai government ratify these Conventions.  
This network which comprises of 26 trade unions and worker organizations was formed during a workshop in August. The impetus of the broad network is origin from IndustriALL affiliates Confederation of Industrial Labour of Thailand (CILT) and State Enterprise Employees Union of PTT Public Company Limited (PTTLU). 
The CILT president Prasit Prasopsuk said: 

“Thailand is the founding members of the ILO in 1919, it should respect ILO standards and ratify the two fundamental conventions. We submitted a letter to the prime minister Mr. Srettha Thavisin to demand immediate ratification. We consider that waiting more than 100 years is too much.”

“The implementation of the two conventions will strengthen workers’ bargaining power, ensuring economic justice, reducing inequality, and providing a better quality of life for Thai workers. The coalition will continue to take every possible step, pushing the current government to ratify the two conventions and reform the labour laws.”

Apsorn Krissanasmit the PTTLU chairperson and State Enterprises Workers’ Federation of Thailand (SEWFOT) said: PTTLU joined the coalition and participated in the World Day for Decent Work march because it shared the same views that the two conventions should be ratified, and precarious work in public and private sectors should be abolished.  

“SEWFOT delegation met the new minister of labour Pipat Ratchakitprakarn on 3 October. We request the government to amend the Labour Relations Act and State Enterprise Labour Relations Act consistent with the Convention 87 and 98.”

Said Krissanasmit. 
In a letter dated 18 September, IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie informed the Thai prime minister, Srettha Thavisin, of decades of anti-union discrimination against Thai workers, which has severely weakened workers’ bargaining power and has resulted in a low-wage economy. 

“We commend the new coalition government for its commitment to raise the daily minimum wage from 354 baht (US$10) to 600 baht (US$16.9), but respect for the core ILO conventions is essential for a country to enjoy trade privileges in a new environment of Corporate Due Dilligence.

An export-oriented economy like Thailand should comply with international labour standards and it will certainly be welcomed by the business community as it will bring benefits to the Thailand economy.” 

Atle Høie added.