The government's policy to increase the minimum wage to 300 baht nationwide in January is expected to cause an influx of migrant labourers, civil rights advocates said yesterday.
Workers demand protection
About 300 workers rally on Ratchadamnoen Avenue yesterday before submitting a letter to theUNin Bangkok, calling for better labour protection measures. The mobilisation was part of the ‘‘World Day for Decent Work’’ campaign. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD
Promboon Panitchpakdi, executive director of Raks Thai Foundation, said he had no confidence in the nationality verification process for migrant workers, despite the Labour Ministry's aim to complete it by Dec 15.
Because law enforcement has remained ineffective, more illegal migrants from neighbouring countries will enter Thailand, he said.
The anticipated influx is expected to worsen the plight of migrant labourers, as the government has failed to protect their rights on wages and welfare, Mr Promboon said.
Ly Vichuta, executive director of Legal Support for Children and Women in Cambodia, a Phnom Penh-based rights group, said Cambodian labourers chose to work in Thailand because of higher wages and greater demand for workers.
The 300 baht daily minimum wage would encourage more workers to illegally come to Thailand and this was unlikely to help efforts to address labour rights violations, she said.
"The law should be enforced to improve the protection of the workers' rights," Ms Vichuta said.
She said violations of labour rights has been rampant among fishing trawler crews, housemaids and farmhands, as they were not protected under the 1998 Labour Protection Act.
Ouk Ravuth, an official with Cambodia's Labour Ministry, said Cambodian labourers were willing to work in Thailand because they can earn more.
Workers are leaving Cambodia to look for jobs in Thailand despite a labour shortage in the garment, construction and farming industries back home, the ministry official said.
About the author
- Writer: Penchan Charoensuthipan