Employment Department hits back at fishing operators

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BANGKOK, 29 May 2015 – Director-General of the Employment Department Sumet Mahosot has hit back at operators of fishing trawlers to improve working conditions of their employees in order to end labor shortage.

The suggestion was made to counter a complaint by an executive in the Fisheries Association that the Employment Department was unable to solve labour shortage in the sector, leading to continuation of the IUU fishing. The operators also called on the government to give permission for them to import migrant workers at any time to replace Thai workers who did not want to work on trawlers as well as to revise the regulation on labor registration.

The Director-General indicated that the root cause of labor shortage actually came from low-standard working conditions on fishing vessels and lack of incentives for workers.

He affirmed that the department was ready to cooperate with the association to improve working conditions on fishing vessels. He also suggested the operators to use modern technology to reduce use of human labour.

He went on to say that the number of migrant workers who have registered was currently 101,499, exceeding the demand of 60,000 migrant workers that the operators claimed they were lacking. However, after the end of the registration, if the operators still need to import workers, they can send a request to the department. This can be done in line with MOUs on labour cooperation Thailand has signed with other countries, the director-general said.