Workers protest at Labour Ministry on lack of post-flood employment

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BANGKOK, Feb 2 – Laid off workers whose jobs were casualties of the recent floods carried their protest to the Ministry of Labour Thursday after their employers neither had clear policies nor gave them answers about further employment during the post-flood period.   

Over 200 workers from Altum Precision Co in Ayutthaya’s previously flooded Hi-Tech Industrial Estate protested at the ministry on Thursday, while 600 others from the NEC Tokin Electronics (Thailand) Co in Pathum Thani’s Navanakorn Industrial Park have been at the ministry since the day before.

The labourers asked the ministry to find ways to assist them after the companies suspended their employment, therefore forcing them eventually to resign, once the floodwaters receded.

Nipaporn Kaewboriwong, representing the Altum Precision workers, said she wanted the company to compensate the employees according to the law after the situation returned to normal. In December, the firm sacked 370 of their 800 employees, while in January its management team changed. She said the company stopped hiring more workers and did not compensate the dismissed ones.

Protester Duangjai Srichaipoom, a labour union committee member from the NEC Tokin Electronics workers, said the demonstration will continue at the ministry until the employers pay a compensation package, including an opportunity cost as they could have found other jobs elsewhere in the interim. She said the company did not stop its business but instead moved its production base to the eastern province of Chachoengsao. It gave no bonuses to its employees as she said it earlier promised, despite good profits, and laid off as many as 2,900 workers from a total of 3,100.

Meanwhile, Charlee Loisoong, president of Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC), said a number of companies have been trying to buy time to not close their businesses, while they did not announce employment cancellations either. Workers were thus forced to resign, which resulted in their receiving less funds from the social security system.

He said the current official layoff figure was less than 30,000 labourers, much lower than the actual number which he believed could reach over 100,000.

Over 100 workers from other companies previously facing flood problems in Ayutthaya’s industrial estates joined the protest during the day. These firms were CD Carton Plus, Ingress Autovent, Seidai Kasei (Thailand), and Nided Electronics (Thailand).

Officials at Labour Ministry took the demonstrators’ issue and said they will try to find ways to deal with the matter.