Core labour leaders are pushing for the establishment of a union for each industry to boost workers' bargaining power.
Chalee Loysung, chairman of the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC), said labour leaders have been campaigning for proposed industry unions to give workers more leverage in their jobs.
Industry unions are part of a 10-year strategy to strengthen labour movements across all sectors, he said.
Mr Chalee yesterday chaired a TLSC meeting at the Metropolitan Electricity Authority to discuss the 10-year labour strategy. The meeting agreed to push ahead with a campaign to set up more industry unions.
Employers often ignore calls by individual unions to improve working conditions and welfare benefits, he said.
Many business operators refused to hold talks with union leaders and many investors have not supported unions at their workplaces, he said.
Some core labour leaders have been fired for speaking up about labour issues, he said. Labour leaders and advocates have agreed to campaign to set up a labour union for each industry, Mr Chalee said.
The unions would be set up gradually over the next 10 years, he said.
Larey Yoopensuk, of the Thailand Auto Part and Metal Worker's Union, is part of a network which includes 10 other unions from the same industry. Workers have toiled hard for their employers and they deserve better working conditions and welfare benefits, Mr Larey said.
Robert Pajkowski, of the Solidarity Centre, a non-profit organisation working to help build a global labour movement, said the government's 300-baht daily minimum wage was not a large enough boost for workers.
The pay rise was equivalent to the cost of two cups of coffee at a brand-name coffee shop, he said.
Many employers set high demands in exchange for the pay rise, such as asking employees to work harder or improve their English language skills.
Low-end wages paid in Thailand are similar to wages earned in third world countries, Mr Pajkowski said.
About the author
- Writer: Penchan Charoensuthipan