Migrants get voice in welfare committees

Migrants get voice in welfare committees

Companies are giving migrant workers the chance to have more representation in the companies' welfare committees so they can work with employers to improve their working conditions and welfare benefits.

Under section 96 of the Labour Protection Act, companies and enterprises are required to set up welfare committees including employees. Some have taken the progressive step of including migrant members of staff on the panels to represent their interests.

Committee members are elected to represent the employees and work together with the employers to ensure workers' welfare.

Thai Union Group Plc, Thailand's largest seafood producer and exporter, is among companies which have migrant workers in their welfare committees.

Attapan Masrungson, a Thai Union executive, said the company allowed migrant workers to take part in elections to sit on the company's welfare committee two years ago.

She said the move allowed migrant worker representatives to have the chance to suggest how to solve problems and improve welfare along with their Thai colleagues.

"This has helped create a happy work environment and promote better understanding and cooperation between workers and employers," Ms Attapan said.

Allowing migrant workers a role in the company's welfare committee is in line with good labour practices (GLP) guidelines for primary processing workplaces in the food and shrimp industries, she said.

Ms Attapan added the number of companies which have migrant workers represented in their welfare committees has now increased to 17.

The role of migrant workers in welfare committees was also highlighted at a recent seminar held in Samut Sakhon.

The seminar was attended by Thai and migrant workers and employers.

Palida Chaimongkol, a scholar on workers' welfare and protection, said workers who are members of employee committees can understand the problems faced by their colleagues better than their employers.

A migrant worker who is a member of a company's welfare committee said it was helpful to bring complaints from their colleagues to monthly meetings and discuss solutions with employers.

He said some of the complaints brought forward in their meetings include inadequate water coolers or staff ID card readers. When the problems were solved, worker's morale improved, he said.

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