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Migrant workers in Thailand struggle as economy slowing

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Cambodian workers return from Thailand through Battambang province last year. POLICE

Migrant workers in Thailand struggle as economy slowing

Civil society officials have found that hundreds of Cambodian workers working in Thailand were made redundant at the beginning of 2023.

A Thailand-based official from Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (CENTRAL) said that in early 2023, many factories in Thailand were shut down, as were construction projects, which resulted in the dismissal of Cambodian workers and difficulty in them finding new employment.

Leung Sophon, a CENTRAL official based in Thailand, said some Cambodian workers were paid irregularly, and had contacted their embassy or civil society organisations to help resolve their difficulties.

He added that in February, many Thai factories began dismissing Cambodian workers without notice, claiming that there were no orders coming in from buyers.

“Since the beginning of the year, many migrant workers have complained about the difficulty of finding work. This is not limited to factories, but construction sites too. Some have been temporarily suspended, while some have had payment of their salaries delayed,” he continued.

Seng Hok is a factory worker in Chonburi province, Thailand. He said he was born in Kampot and had been working in Thailand for four years. Hok lost his job in early January, but planned to return to work in early March.

“I work in a factory through a sewing contractor. They told us there was no work for us and we were unemployed the same day. After more than a month without work, my relatives called and offered me work near Bangkok. I will start on March 1,” he told The Post.

“We are in another country, so if we lose our jobs we have no choice but to leave. With no support services or family, it is impossible to live without an income,” he added.

The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand recently announced that it was working to find new jobs for the migrant workers who had contacted them.

Embassy attaché Chum Samphors and a Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour had no comment on the issues raised by CENTRAL.

According to CENTRAL, there are more than 2 million Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand, of which about half are undocumented, and therefore illegal. The organisation said those without legal documents face many challenges, such as labour exploitation and persecution by Thai authorities.


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