Press Release : Thailand Heads towards the Establishment of a Union for Fishery Workers
On 18 March 2018, representatives from the public and private sectors as well as from civil society organisations, and relevant government agencies, namely, the National Fisheries Association of Thailand, the Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation, the Myanmar Migrants Network to Promote Rights in Thailand and the Center for Asian Migration Research, gathered together at the press conference to jointly launch “the Thai and Migrant Fisher Union Group” and the “Labour Voices” hotline.
The establishment of the Thai and Migrant Fisher Union Group is a step forward to enhance the legal protection, assistance and access to remedies for fishery workers. For the first time, representatives of both Thai and migrant fishery workers can be part of the process to protect their own rights. The Union Group will help strengthen the fishery workers to be self-reliant and to make public demands for the betterment of their livelihood and welfare.
The Union Group is also an important stepping stone towards to an official establishment of a “Fishery Workers Union” in the future. It also plays an important role in campaigning for the government to provide better labour management policies and protection for fishery workers both in and outside Thai waters. The representatives of the fishery workers were pleased with the public sector’s support for the setting-up of this Union Group because workers were the ones who knew the problems and could offer the best recommendations and solutions.
The Union Group is a concrete result of the push by “the Working Group on Labour Relations Promotion in Sea Fishing Operation”, established by the Thai Government and composed of representatives from both Thai and international organisations and NGOs, to deliver valuable advice to the government. The Working Group’s aims are to improve labour relations systems in sea fishing operations and promoting employees’ collective bargaining and organisations.
In addition, the press conference also launched the “Labour Voices” hotline. The hotline, providing services in four languages i.e. Thai, Myanmar, Cambodian and Laotian since 1 December 2017, is a joint effort between the Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation and the private sector. It acts as a complaint channel for both Thai and foreign workers when there is violation of workers’ rights. The Foundation will act as a moderator which receives comments, suggestions and complaints from the workers and bring the matters forward to the existing mechanism of both public and private sectors to properly address the problems.
March 23, 2018