Information is empowering
Burmese migrant workers in Thailand have been learning about their rights in UnionAID project training delivered by our partner, the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma.
19 training courses were held during 2008 to plantation workers in the Phawphra district where seasonal migrant workers have been subject to violence and trafficking. In total more than 1100 workers attended the training at 19 different locations.
The training courses included:
- Information about labour laws and culture of Thailand
- Information about Thailand’s new work permit system
- How to prevent human trafficking (with pamphlet produced by the FTUB)
- Information about new Thai Human Trafficking Law (2008)
- Guide to travelling and working in Thailand (with the second edition of the information published by the ILO)
- Occupational Health and Safety (including safe use of pesticides and other chemicals).
- Resources for publicising the ILO’s Asian Decent Work for All Decade campaign.
- Unity and working together for improvements in work conditions.
A workers rights pamphlet was also produced in several languages and work was undertaken to develop a database of information on workers and their factory conditions and risks.
The FTUB has reported:
- 3000 pamphlets were distributed to migrant worker groups at different plantations and the print run has increased because of demand.
- More confidence by workers and knowledge of their rights.
- In Phawphra area there was a reduction in serious crime. The workers are taking more collective action to protect each other from violence.
- There is a better relationship with Thai Labour Officers. They helped with a joint training course on Thai labour law and Labour Relations Act.
- There were fewer arrests of migrant workers and increased co-operation between community based organisations and migrant workers.
- Workers are becoming more able to use official channels to seek redress.