General news >> Thursday January 31, 2008 LABOUR / HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION FORUM
Call to punish factories which exploit migrant workers
Factories found exploiting migrant workers should be punished by having their investment privileges revoked, human rights commissioner Sunee Chaiyarose said yesterday.
Mrs Sunee said the proposal could be a way to better protect the rights of foreign workers in the country.
Her idea, which was put forward at a forum held by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was backed by Philip Robertson Jr, a consultant for human rights and labour.
The former official of the United Nations Inter-agency Project on Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region said the United States and the European Union banned goods from countries where alien workers were abused and treated badly.
Thailand is a haven for workers from neighbouring countries due to higher wages and opportunities in those jobs Thais do not want.
Many immigrants get jobs at sub-contractors.
A study by the Labour Rights Promotion Network released yesterday stated they are being taken advantage of by sub-contractors who supply them to factories and deduct 3-7% of their wages besides service fees from factories.
He raised the issue during a seminar held yesterday at the NHRC office.
Lack of understanding about Thai laws and regulations opened the way for unscrupulous sub-contractors to take advantage of alien workers, the study said. Many workers had to pay extra fees to the sub-contractors if they wanted to go to hospital or negotiate with police if they were caught, it added.
Mrs Sunee said the exploitation of foreign workers could not be resolved partly because they dare not lodge complaints with their employers over unfair wages or poor welfare benefits for fear they would be sent back home.