by MR. PRUKSAKASEMSUK SOMYOT
Alliance of Democratic Trade Unions
“If you use subcontract labour in the workplace, that is a zigzag employment and that must be abolished.” This was the statement of Prime Minister Taksin made before the leaders of the Alliance of Democratic Trade Unions (ADTU) in an impromptu dialogue held at the Ministry of Labour yesterday.
Mr. Taksin then ordered Labour Minister Somsak Thepsuthin who was with him to study the demand of the workers to end the practice of contract labour system and to bring the petition letter of the workers on the issue to his office for proper action.
Contract labour system is a term coined by Thai labour movement to the practice of the companies to employ fixed employment contract renewable on a yearly basis despite years of service has already been rendered by a worker in his/her company, or the deplorable practice of employing workers from the private labor-only contractors or subcontractors for the companies to evade employer-employee relationship and responsibilities under the law with the contracted workers. In the latter, the contractors or the subcontactors served as the employer of the workers.
The organized workers headed by the ADTU greeted the Prime Minister with placards and noise barrage at the back entrance gate of the Ministry of Labour Building. Mr. Taksin was going to address the meeting of the labour officials on that day. The more than 300 picketing workers have already blocked the front and the back gates of the building as early as 10:00 a.m. Police also cordoned off the area of the arrival of Taksin but just allowed the workers to continue with their protest. Taksin arrived at 11:35 a.m.
The picketing workers handed a petition letter demanding the abolition of the contract labour system to Mr. Taksin personally just as he alighted from his car. The workers welcome the statement of the Prime Minister that he will look into the issue of the contract labour system.
Contract labour system is against the constitution, said the workers. “All workers must enjoy equal treatment under the law, equal protection of labour, and the government must ensure a just income distribution,” according to the petition letter handed to Mr. Taksin.
Last Sunday, a rally was also held in front of the Government House on the same issue that was attended by more than 1,000 workers from different unions, but no government officials dialogued with the workers.
“A partial victory has already been won by the workers against the contract labour system,” according to ADTU. The issue has already been brought personally to the attention of the Prime Minister. However, concrete action from Mr. Taksin has yet to be seen, the ADTU leaders ended.
The protest picket was participated by Chemical Workers Union Alliance (CWUA), Goodyear Workers Union, Electronic and Computer Parts Workers Union, and a union from the transport sector.