Employment

For Immediate Release 12th July 2010: Migrant Workers in Thailand Must Urgently Be Granted Access to Work Accident Compensation

Mon. 12th July 2010, at 2pm the State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation (SERC), the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) and the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), together with supporting labour unions and NGOs, met Thailand's Minister of Labour at the Ministry of Labour in Bangkok. This meeting was in order to submit a letter of recommendations and to discuss serious concerns regarding the Government's policy towards protection of migrant workers, given recent announcements to allow migrant access to work accident compensation only through a private life insurance fund which private companies will be responsible for.

For Immediate Release (12th July 2010) Migrant Workers Must Urgently Be Granted Access to Work Accident Compensation

For more information on this statement, please contact:

Currently migrant workers in Thailand are living and working in seriously degrading conditions. Thailand is currently under the spotlight of the international community and facing severe criticism for its treatment of migrant workers. The international community is seriously concerned that Thailand continues to neglect migrant workers, allowing them to fall victim to serious human rights violations, including a denial of access to the Social Security Officeโ€™s (SSO) Workmenโ€™s Compensation Fund (WCF) following work accidents.

Submited letter of recommendations to the Government's policy towards protection of migrant workers.

The WCF was established in accordance with the Workmenโ€™s Compensation Act (WCA) 1994. The purpose of the WCF is clearly stated as a system to protect all โ€œworkersโ€ working for an employer, whatever their nationality or immigration status. The WCA 1994 clearly lays down conditions, systems and procedures for paying work accident compensation to all โ€œworkersโ€ who experience accidents, are disabled or die at work. The WCA 1994 also clearly provides penalties for those who fail to comply with this law. However, when its comes to assisting injured workers and their relatives following work accidents, government officials seem to be turning away from the stated aims of the WCF, in breach of the law. The rights of many workers are currently being denied.

All migrant workers are โ€œworkersโ€ and must receive equal protection to Thai workers. These โ€œequalityโ€ and โ€œnon-discriminationโ€ standards are provided for in Thailandโ€™s labour laws and in Thailandโ€™s existing Constitution. In addition, several United Nations and International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions, which the Thai Government has ratified, demand that all countries respect universal standards of equality and non-discrimination.

At this time however, in reality migrant workers in Thailand are denied many basic human and labour rights and standards of equality and non-discrimination are not being applied. The fact migrant workers currently are not able to enter into the WCF provides one clear example. The Ministry of Labourโ€™s (MoL) SSO continues to cite a circular notice (RS 0711/W751, issued on 25th October 2001) regarding protection of migrant workers who incur an accident at work to deny migrant access to the WCF. This circular notice states that if migrant workers are to access work accident compensation from the WCF they must fulfill all of the following conditions: (1) Migrant workers must possess a work permit; (2) Migrant workers must possess a passport or alien identification documents; (3) Employers of migrant workers must pay a dividend into the WCF: and (4) Migrant workers must pay taxes like all ordinary Thai citizens.

If migrant workers cannot fulfill any of the above conditions, responsibility to pay work accident compensation is transferred to their employer. Evidence shows clearly however that most migrant workers do not currently access this work accident compensation from their employers. Migrant workers do not therefore currently access rights provided to them according to law from the WCF. Currently, over 2 million migrant workers in Thailand are not able to access the WCF. SSO continues to deny these rights even though most migrants in Thailand already have two formal ID documents (the Tor 38/1 form and a work permit) issued by the Ministries of Interior and Labour.

In recent times, the MoL and other related officials have tried to solve these problems by announcing plans to set up a special compensation fund to pay work accident compensation to migrant workers. This fund will apparently be managed by a private life insurance company. These plans are unlawful and not in accordance with the spirit and goals of all labour protection laws in Thailand, the WCA 1994 itself and also the Thai Constitution. These plans are also clearly in breach of international law and international labour and human rights standards laid down by the ILO and United Nations.

The State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation (SERC), the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) and international labour organisations in Thailand therefore demand as follows:

  1. The government must now reconsider and immediately revoke discriminatory regulations preventing migrant worker access to the SSOโ€™s WCF;
  2. The government must urgently strategise, together with both government officials, labour unions, NGOs and migrant workers themselves, to solve problems currently faced by migrant workers to ensure they can access rights provided to them under the WCF;
  3. The government must immediately revoke all plans to set up a special compensation fund to pay work accident compensation to migrant workers given such plans are in breach of both Thai and international laws.

In Solidarity

State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation of Thailand (SERC)

Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF)

Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC)

International Transport Federation (ITF) THAILAND

Public Services International (PSI) THAILAND

International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Union (ICEM) Thailand

International Metalworkers Federation (IMF) Thailand

UNI Thailand

Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) Thailand

Rangsit Area Union Group

Eastern Area Union Group

Project for Development of the Lives of Migrants and Status Challenges Persons

US Committee for Refugees and Immigration (USCRI)

Migrant Workers Rights Network (MWRN)

Source: migrantjustice@hrdfoundation.org

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When: 7/2/2014

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