Thailand ratifies Forced Labour Convention protocol

Thailand ratifies Forced Labour Convention protocol

Thailand has ratified the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, an international legal mechanism put in place to help stamp out forced labour.

Labour Minister Adul Sangsingkeo will make the ratification official at an International Labour Organisation (ILO) conference in Geneva from June 1-9 after yesterday receiving approval from the National Legislative Assembly.

Speaking at the NLA's session yesterday, Pol Gen Adul said the core elements of the protocol require ratifying governments to come up with clear policies and legal measures for preventing and suppressing forced labour as well as penalising wrongdoers.

The protocol also requires ratifying governments to put in place sufficient measures to prevent the problem arising as well as offer proper rehabilitation for victims of forced labour, he said.

Apart from legal measures, Thailand, said Pol Gen Adul, must work hard to educate not only employers and employees but society as a whole about the issue.

"In all, this protocol will help raise Thailand's standards of labour protection to the international level," he told NLA members.

The Labour Ministry, he said, has already finished drafting a bill related to forced labour prevention.

This draft bill is an organic law which implements measures defined in the ILO's protocol.

Thailand is required to promulgate this law within a year of ratifying the protocol. A year after, the country must report to ILO regarding enforcement and then every three years after that, if the ILO has not received any complaints.

The draft bill has been approved by the cabinet and it is being proofread by the Council of State, he said, adding the draft law will next be forwarded to the NLA.

Singsuek Singphrai, chairman of the NLA's committee tasked with studying the ministry's proposal to ratify the protocol, pointed out that the draft law still lacks measures to protect more than 500,000 non-civil servant state employees.

Previously, around 140,000 temporary staff with the Public Health Ministry complained about inequality in pay and work benefits, said Mr Singsuek.

Pol Gen Adul said the ministry will work on this issue and make sure that draft bill will cover labour in both the public and private sectors.

Other NLA members raised concerns that practices in some Thai workplaces, such as late salary payments and confiscating employees' ID cards, might violate the ILO protocol.

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