A new generation of young union leaders for some of the 20 unions of the Rangsit Labour Union Group (RLUG) has emerged from a UnionAID project in Thailand.
At age 35 Massada (Da) Rattanaseeha was elected as the president of the Thai Suzuki motorcycle assembly factory.
Da, as he is commonly known, started working at the factory as a subcontract worker when he was just 18 years old. Following the union’s successful efforts to ensure that subcontracted workers are directly employed by the company, Da became a full-time employee and a union member. Three years later, he was invited to join the committee to help strengthen the union. This invitation was the start of his journey towards becoming the president of the union.
Da’s story is a testament to the impact of the UnionAID project. Initially hesitant to become the union’s president, he gained confidence and developed a passion for union organisation after participating in the project’s activities for three years. Da’s journey shows that with the right support and opportunities, even workers who start as subcontracted employees can become leaders in their workplace and beyond. The project has demonstrated that investing in the next generation of union leaders is a crucial step towards ensuring the continued relevance and success of the labour movement.
Da says that until his own retirement he will continue to participate to make the union organisation stronger.
Photo: Massada (Da) Rattanaseeha