Cooperation deal sparks worker rush to S Korea

Cooperation deal sparks worker rush to S Korea

A group of 49 Thai labourers passes skill testing for welding jobs in South Korea. They will work at Hyundai Heavy Industries. (Photo: Ministry of Labour)
A group of 49 Thai labourers passes skill testing for welding jobs in South Korea. They will work at Hyundai Heavy Industries. (Photo: Ministry of Labour)

More skilled Thai workers are heading to South Korea for well-paid jobs under a labour cooperation deal reached between Thailand and South Korea last year.

These include welding jobs at Hyundai Heavy Industries, a world-leading shipyard.

Latdawan Saeyang is among 49 welders who have passed their pre-employment tests, are certified and are ready to travel to South Korea for their new jobs.

It took the 35-year-old single mother from northern Tak province two years of training to become a professional welder, the job she switched to eight years ago.

Before that, she started out as a worker cutting and bending metal for a company in Chon Buri contracted to build an oil rig platform.

Because the job only earned her 300 baht a day, she was soon determined to become a welder when she learned they earned twice the salary.

As for the new job opportunity in South Korea, she said she heard about it from a friend and decided to go for it as she was told she could earn more than 60,000 baht a month, plus overtime. The job also came with free accommodation and annual bonuses.

The Department of Employment (DoE), under the Thai-South Korean labour cooperation deal reached last year, is to secure 5,000 skilled Thai workers for the Korea Offshore and Shipbuilding Association (Koshipa) for this year alone, said Pairoj Chotikasatien, the DoE director-general.

Recruitment companies contracted to find workers for this labour cooperation project have so far recruited a total of 1,275 skilled workers -- 970 welders, 205 spray painters and 100 electrical mechanics, he said.

The first group of 65 welders has already travelled to South Korea, while a second group of 49 workers, including Ms Latdawan, has just followed recently. They are working at Hyundai Heavy Industries.

The South Korean shipyard is a key player in the global shipbuilding industry, said Aranya Sakulkoso, managing director of Boss Delight Manpower, a recruitment company contracted to find workers for the project.

These workers are guaranteed to earn good pay and fringe benefits, starting from 91,600 South Korean won (about 2,430 baht) a day, plus overtime and a two-month bonus per year, she said.

They will be working eight hours per day, five days a week, Ms Aranya added.

Thai welders and electrical mechanics are in high demand in South Korea.


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