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Fishing boat workers: Free or not free?

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17% of workers on fishing boats not free to leave. Survey of workers to be followed by labour inspections and occupational safety and health checks. 

Fishing trawler at sea (Source: Wikipedia)

LABOUR 

Study finds most fishing hands willing

ILO counters image of forced labour in sector

3/09/2013

Achara Ashayagachat

A study by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has found that, contrary to common perception, forced labour does not account for the majority of fishery workers in Thailand.

The study - the ILO's first on the matter - found 83% of respondents worked in the industry willingly.

The 105-page report on "Employment Practices and Working Conditions in Thailand's Fishing Sector", conducted by the ILO and Chulalongkorn University, was released yesterday.

It found that 17% of the 596 fishery workers it interviewed - 306 Myanmar nationals, 241 Cambodians and 49 Thais - were working against their will and were unable to leave because of the threat of penalties. The other 83% said they were working by choice.

However, while 94.6% of the respondents said they took up the job voluntarily, 5.4% stated they were deceived or coerced into working in the fisheries sector, ILO senior programme officer Max Tunon said yesterday.

The survey is the largest poll of fishery workers in Thailand to date.

It was carried out from May to September last year, and found 53% of respondents stayed at sea for less than two weeks at a time, while 17% stayed aboard boats for up to six months per journey.

Workers on long-haul boats typically faced longer working hours, while typical rest periods for all workers were less than five hours per 24.

About 26% of the respondents said they did not get enough rest.

The mean wage among the respondents was 6,483 baht a month, and most of them (63%) were paid monthly while 12% - mostly workers on long-haul trawlers - were paid upon the completion of each voyage.

While the survey found 33 children under the age of 18 working on fishing vessels and some other serious abuses such as threats of violence, "we could not say that forced labour is the main feature in the Thai fishing industry", Mr Tunon said.

He said there had been some improvements in understanding among stakeholders and he hoped seven proposed government coordination centres would be up and running next month to ensure greater protection in the recruitment and employment of fishery workers.

"The Ministerial Regulation No.10 on sea fishery work is being revised and coordination centres which will handle complaints, registration and training services are being set up," the ILO project coordinator said.

Other initiatives being launched include labour inspections and occupational safety and health checks, and the development of a code of conduct outlining good labour practices for vessel owners and captains.

"Improving working conditions is also vital to addressing a severe labour shortage in the fishing sector, and to ensuring the sustainability of the industry," Chulalongkorn's Asian Research Centre for Migration director Supang Chantavanich said yesterday.

The survey stresses the importance of regulating the role of labour brokers in the registration and regularisation of migrant fishermen, he said.

"If the national verification process could be completed sooner and be less cumbersome, that will help reduce [ migrant workers' ] exposure to brokers," Ms Supang said.

Thailand is a major world supplier of seafood products, with exports exceeding US$7 billion per annum in recent years.

According to the National Fisheries Association of Thailand, 142,845 workers are currently employed by its members, and many more are employed by other fishery-related enterprises.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/367668/study-finds-most-fishing-hands-willing

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Vocabulary:

aboard: on a boat or airplane; on board -

abuse: cruel, violent or unfair treatment, especially of someone who does not have the power to prevent it - การข่มเหง, การปฏิบัติไม่ดีต่อ

account for: to be the reason why something exists or happens, to give an explanation for something bad that has happened - อธิบาย, ให้เหตุผลสำหรับ, เป็นเหตุผลของ

address: to deal with a problem - จัดการปัญหา

against their will: forcing someone to do something that they do not want to do -

broker: a person or company who arranges something such as a deal, agreement, a job, etc. - นายหน้า

carry out: to do something, to finish and complete a task - ทำให้สมบูรณ์, ทำให้สำเร็จ

coerce: to persuade someone forcefully to do something which they are unwilling to do - บีบบังคับ

common: ordinary; not unusual or special - ธรรมดา

complaint: when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory - การบ่น, ข้อที่ไม่พอใจ

complete: to finish something; to bring some project to an end after having done everything successfully - ทำเสร็จ, ทำให้สมบูรณ์

completion: finishing something; bringing some project to an end after having done everything successfully - การทำเสร็จ, การทำให้สมบูรณ์

conditions: the circumstances or situation in which people live, work or do things - เหตุการณ์, สภาพการ, สถานการณ์

conduct: to do something in an organised way; to carry out — - ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ

contrary: completely different or opposed to something else - ตรงข้าม

contrary to popular belief: against what most people believe -

coordination: the act of making all the people involved in a plan or activity work together in an organised way - การประสานกัน

counter: to go against - ต้าน, แย้ง

counter: to reply to a criticism or statement that you disagree with - ตอบโต้

cumbersome: something that is difficult to do - ยุ่งยาก, ซึ่งทำให้ลำบาก

currently: at this time; now - ในปัจจุบัน

deceive: to persuade someone that something false is the truth - หลอก

employ: to have someone work or do a job for you and pay them for it - ว่าจ้าง, จ้าง

employment: when a person has work that earns them money - การจ้างงาน, การงาน

ensure: to make certain that something happens or is done - ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ

enterprise: an organization, especially a business - กิจการ, บริษัท,อุตสาหกิจ,วิสาหกิจ

exceed: to go beyond an official limit; to be greater than a number or amount - เกินปริมาณ

exposure: the state of being put into a situation in which something harmful or dangerous might affect you - การให้ถูกแสง

fishery: an area of water where fish are caught so they can be sold - พื้นที่ในการจับปลา

force: to make someone do something that they don't want to do บังคับ - บังคับ

force: making someone do something that they don't want to do - การบังคับ

handle: to be able deal with a situation - ควบคุมได้, เอาอยู่, จัดการได้

image: an opinion that people have about someone or something - ภาพลักษณ์

improvement: when something gets better or when you make it better - การปรับปรุง, การทำให้ดีขึ้น

initiative: a new action or movement, often intended to solve a problem - ความคิดริเริ่ม

inspection: an official process of checking that things are in the correct condition or that people are doing what they should - การตรวจสอบตรวจตรา

interview: to ask someone questions for a poll, a newspaper article, television show, etc. - สัมภาษณ์,

journey: travelling from one place to another, especially when they are far apart - การเดินทาง

labour: people whose job involves hard physical work that is not skilled, especially work that is done outdoors - กรรมกร, ผู้ใช้แรงงาน

launch: starting something - การเริ่มต้น

long-haul: long-distance -

major: very large or important - สำคัญมาก

majority: more than 50 percent of a group - เสียงส่วนใหญ่

matter: something that you are discussing, considering or dealing with - สิ่งที่พูดถึง ประเด็นที่พูดถึง

mean: an amount that is calculated by adding several numbers together and dividing the total by the original number of things that you added together - ค่าเฉลี่ย, ตัวกลาง, มัชฌิม

member: a person, a country or an organization that has joined a particular group, club or team - สมาชิก

migrant: someone who travels to another place or country in order to find work (an immigrant is someone who comes to live in a country from another country) - ผู้อพยพ

migrant worker: someone who travels to another place or country in order to find work - คนงานต่างถิ่น

ministerial level: a situation that involves government ministers - ระดับรัฐมนตรี

national: a citizen of a particular country - ประชาชน

penalty: a punishment, or the usual punishment, for doing something that is against a law - โทษ

per annum: for each year - ต่อปี, ทุกปี

perception: a particular way of understanding or thinking about something - ความเข้าใจ

period: a particular length of time - ระยะเวลา

poll: to ask a lot of people about what they feel about something - สำรวจความคิดเห็น

practice: a way of doing something - การปฏิบัติ

process: a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ

proposed: suggested as an idea for a group to consider - ถูกเสนอ

protection: the act of protecting somebody/something; the state of being protected - การอารักขา, การปกป้อง

recent: happening or starting a short time ago - เร็วๆ นี้

recruitment: the process of finding people to work for a company or become a new member of an organisation - การสรรหาใหม่

registration: the process of recording names or information on an official list - การขึ้นทะเบียน, การลงทะเบียน

regulate: to control an activity officially by using rules - ควบคุม

regulation: an official rule that controls the way that things are done - กฎระเบียบ

release: making known to the public - การเปิดเผย, การปล่อย

respondent: someone who answers questions — - ผู้ตอบคำถาม/แบบสำรวจ

rest: relax, take it easy, sleep - พัก, ผ่อนคลาย

revise: to change, improve, or make additions to something - แก้ไข

role: the purpose or influence of someone or something in a particular situation - บทบาท

sector: a part of a country’s economic or business activity - ภาค (เศรษฐกิจ)

shortage: when there is not enough of something - การขาดแคลน

stakeholder: someone who has an interest in the success of a plan, system, or organization, for example a worker in a company or the parent of a child at a school - ผู้ถือผลประโยชน์ร่วม

stress: to emphasise something such as an idea, fact or detail; to explain why something is important - เน้น

study: A setting of the mind or thoughts upon a subject; hence, application of mind to books, arts, or science, or to any subject, for the purpose of acquiring knowledge. - งานวิจัย

supplier: a person or company that supplies goods - ผู้จัดหาสิ่งของให้, ผู้ผลิตสินค้าและวัตถุดิบ

survey: to make an examination of something to find out about its condition - สำรวจ

survey: to ask a large number of people questions to find out their opinions - สำรวจ

sustainability: can continue doing activity for a long time - ย่างยั่งยืน

threat: saying that you might do something bad or harmful, especially in order to make someone do something - การขู่เข็ญ การคุกคาม ทำให้กลัว

to date: until now -

trawler: a boat used for fishing by pulling a large net through the water - เรืออวนลาก

typical: happening in the usual way; showing what something is usually like - ตามแบบฉบับ, ตามปกติ

typically: usually; normally - อย่างเป็นแบบฉบับ

up and running: when a system is working and operating now, after a period of preparation or installation -

verification: the process of checking that something is true or accurate - การพิสูจน์ความจริง, การตรวจสอบความเป็นจริง

vessel: a boat or ship - เรือ

violence: physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people - ความรุนแรง, การใช้กำลังทำลาย

vital: extremely important; necessary for the success or continued existence of something - จำเป็นสำหรับชีวิต; สำคัญมาก

voluntarily: done because you choose to do it rather than because you have to - ด้วยความสมัครใจ

voyage: a long journey - การเดินทางอันยาวไกล

wage: an amount of money that you earn for working, usually according to how many hours or days you work each week or month - ค่าจ้าง

willing: to be happy to do something if it is needed - ซึ่งสมัครใจ, ซึ่งมีความตั้งใจ

willingly: not objecting to or resisting doing something - อย่างสมัครใจ, อย่างเต็มอกเต็มใจ

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