WASHINGTON - Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum welcomes the announcement of an anti-trafficking plan from the Thai government that includes the development of laws for migrant workers’ rights to form trade unions.
Affording migrant workers their internationally-recognized rights to organize and bargain collectively has been the principle demand of the Thai and international labor movement for decades. This was the Seafood Working Group (SWG)’s top recommendation in its 2022 submission to the U.S State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Office.
“Thailand was upgraded to Tier 2 in the 2022 TIP Report, and it is positive to see that the goverment is proposing reforms in one of the most important areas for preventing human trafficking. However, until these laws are passed, migrants remain vulnerable to exploitation,” said Valery Alzaga, Deputy Director of GLJ-ILRF.
Trade union rights are central to preventing forced labor. Industries with strong trade union representation have lower levels of labor abuse, child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking. Under Thai law, migrant workers are barred from forming their own unions, making labor abuse and exploitation endemic to the country’s migrant-dominated labor sectors, such as seafood processing and fishing.
To realize these rights, the Thai government must must ratify ILO Conventions on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize (C87) and the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining (C98) and reform the Labor Relations Act to allow all workers, including migrants, the right to voluntarily establish and lead their own unions and to bargain collectively, with legal protection.
We will continue to work alongside the Thai labor movement and migrant worker organizations to win these rights for all workers in the country.
Take action! Sign this petition calling on the Thai government to afford migrant workers the right to organize.
GLJ-ILRF is a non-profit public-interest organization dedicated to achieving dignity and justice for workers worldwide. GLJ-ILRF focuses on enforcing labor rights and promoting decent work conditions consistent with best practices and International Labor Organization (ILO) standards in the low-wage sections of global supply chains such as commercial fishing. GLJ-ILRF engages in research, policy work, advocacy, and education of the public and consumers.
Chaired by GLJ-ILRF, the Seafood Working Group (SWG) is a global coalition of human rights, labor and environmental organizations that work together to develop and advocate for effective government policies and industry actions to end the related problems of forced labor, illegal fishing and overfishing in the international seafood trade.