Wednesday, September 4, 2013

THAILAND - Thai fishing industry fails to meet labour standards, according to ILO

Click on the flag for more information about ThailandThailand fishing industry fails to meet both domestic and international labour standards, a recently completed study by an entity of United Nations reveals. 

The research was performed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the Asian Research Centre on Migration at Chulalongkorn University and has been presented this week.

The results that were obtained were taken from the information gathered through an interview to 596 workers and do not reflect positively on the industry in Thailand as to working conditions.
According to the research, 32 workers -- 5.4 per cent of the total interviewed -- asserted that they were forced to enter the industry, a problem which was even more evident in people working in long-haul vessels, where as much as 16 per cent (one in six long-haul fishers) stated that they had not entered the industry of their own free will. Out of the 32 workers, 17 claimed they had been “deceived or forced to work by the agents from the country of origin”.

17 per cent of the people interviewed said they were working under duress and unable to leave their present work arrangements because of the threat of penalties.

The study also exposed the fact that 33 minors (under 18) were working on Thai fishing vessels and seven of those were under 15 years of age.
Although the ILO Work in Fishing Convention 2007 and the Thai Ministerial Regulation N° 10 seem to account for this fact, the recently concluded report says that this is “a grey area with regard to child labour because some work in fishing can be considered hazardous for children, and this can include night work".

Other important facts disclosed by the report show the worrying fact that most workers do not have written employment contracts, consequently neither terms of payment nor working hours are properly regulated.

As many as 94 per cent of the surveyed workers did not have written working contracts.
The study is intended to eventually offer more protection for fishers who will be able to register, be properly trained and, once the Thailand Ministerial Regulation Nr 10 is revised, it will be able to provide such workers with greater protection in recruitment and employment.
Professor Supang Chantavanich, Director of the Asian Research Centre on Migration, said: “This improved understanding of the situation will help to formulate evidence-based policy responses for regulating the recruitment and employment of fishers and preventing and eliminating all unacceptable forms of work. Improving working conditions is also vital to addressing the severe labour shortages in the fishing sector, and to ensure the sustainability of the industry.”
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