More than 1,000 workers, mainly women, of Thai Kriang Durable Textile are occupying their factory after the management's refusal to continue negotiations by collective bargaining with their trade union. Workers have been staying in the factory since 30 May 2000. On June 14, 15 and 22, hundreds of hired hoodlums attempted to attack the workers and 26 workers were injured. Workers' representatives have also tried to meet with the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare to ask for his intervention to ensure peaceful negotiations.
With the improvement of the economic situation of the company, the trade union of the Thai Kriang Durable requested for wage increases, improved working conditions and welfare benefits. However, the employer turned down the union's demands and refused further negotiations. The Social Welfare and Labour Protection Department, Labour and Social Welfare Ministry has also called for collective bargaining but instead, the company continues to refuse to negotiate.
Please write polite letters to express your concern on this case and encourage all parties to open up a peaceful and just negotiation:
Send letters to:
The Minister, Labour and Social Welfare Ministry, Dindang, Bangkok, THAILAND
Fax: 66-2-281 4358
Send copies to:
1. The Manager, Thai Durable Textile Public Company Limited No.170 / 29, 31, 11th Floor,
Ocean Tower Building, Sukhumvit 16, Klong Toey, Bangkok 10110, THAILAND
We write with deep concern about the case of more than 1,000 Thai Kriang Durable Textile workers who are demanding negotiations by collective bargaining with their employer. According to the Labor Act of 1975 and a standard practice of international community including the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a trade union has the right to collective bargaining and negotiation in order to protect worker's rights and benefits. We were glad to hear that the Social Welfare and Labour Protection Department have initiated intervention to restore the worker's right by bringing together workers and employer of the company for negotiations. We urge you to continue to enforce the practice of peaceful and just negotiations between employer and workers in this case as well as other cases. We hope that the economic prosperity of your country will benefit all, especially those, the workers, who play such a significant part in that growth.
The Thai Kriang Durable Textile is claimed to be one of the oldest factories in Thailand, founded 40 years ago. Thirty percent of its production is exported to America and Europe. 1031 out of 1888 workers are members of the Thai Kriang Durable Textile Trade Union. Most of the workers are middle-aged women who have been working in the factory for more than 15 years.
In 1993, the company tried to lay-off union leaders and committee members citing the need for market competitiveness and technological change. In response, the workers went on strike and eventually a mass labor movement developed to protest against the lay-offs and to defend trade union rights. Finally, the lay-offs were postponed and union leaders were given back their posts.
In 1994, the company was taken over by the Rakesh Saksena Group who allegedly abused the company's assets by speculating in the stock market. When stock market crashed in 1997, Mr. Rakesh fled Thailand because of an embezzlement scandal. Later on, the company was bought over and a new management took over. The company then pursued a policy of market expansion and workers were asked to contribute fully to the development of production.
For years the workers and trade union had postponed their demand for better welfare in order to ease the financial situation of the company. The workers even assisted the company in negotiating a debt rescheduling with the debtor, Bangkok Bank. The workers sacrificed wage increases and even asked not to be paid for days such as holidays when they do not work.
Since the new management took over, the company's profits have increased, netting over 100 million Baht (US$ 2.6 million). Several production sections previously closed down were reopened. The company also imported 154 sets of new machines (open-end spinning) to upgrade its production and hired 400 new and younger workers.
Realizing that the financial situation of the company had improved, on September 12, 1999, at their general meeting, the trade union requested the company meet them to negotiate for wage increases, improved working conditions and better welfare benefits. The company rejected the demands. The workers, having made many sacrifices for the company in the past but having no recourse started, on 30 May 2000, their occupation of the factory to push their demands.
Until now, the company refuses any further negotiation by collective bargaining with the trade union. On June 16, 2000, about 200 workers marched to submit their demands to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare wishing that the Minister would intervene to push for negotiations. However, there has been no response from the Minister. Instead at the Department level, several calls have been issued to the company for negotiations by collective bargaining. However, the company has refused to heed the calls.
Kata Lee Project Coordinator Hotline Asia
June 28, 2000
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June 30, 2000