Thai worker unions at foreign firms protest outside embassies

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BANGKOK, 13 March 2013 Labour unions at some large foreign companies in Thailand have staged protests outside the embassies of the US, Australia and the Netherlands in Bangkok, against what they claimed were “unfair employment practices” and “unjustified layoffs” by the companies. 

Chairman of the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee, Chalee Loysung, said that, in response to the government’s 300-baht minimum wage policy, the Dutch electronics producer NXP has reduced the number of working days from six to four days a week, and required workers to work four extra hours a day. Though the workers are paid for their overtime work, they are earning less than before.

Priwan Metha, chairman of the labour union at a foreign company based in Rayong province, said that his company refused to raise the wage for 129 workers to 300 baht per day, as required by the government’s minimum wage policy, and has laid off some workers unlawfully, saying that they were “trouble-makers”.

Meanwhile, the head of NXP’s corporate communications said that the company’s policy complies with the law. GE Motors (Thailand), another company under fire, said it would supplement its new shift policy with boosted wages, bonuses and fringe benefits in the next two years.