Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Migrants ‘need protection’



Migrants ‘need protection’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Migrant’s work on a fishing boat in Mahachai, on the outskirts of Bangkok, on June 30, 2015. NICOLAS ASFOURI/afp

Migrants ‘need protection’

A report from the International Labor Rights Forum, released on Friday, has said that forced labour and other abuses of foreign workers on board fishing vessels in neighbouring Thailand are likely to continue unless the government and industry actors take a different approach to resolving the problems they face.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Labour has estimated that there are 1.05 million Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand, with the International Labour Organization saying in 2017 that there are around 300,000 foreign workers, mainly Burmese, Cambodian and Lao, in the country’s fishing industry.

In the report overview, it says, “the project set out to better inform the government, industry leaders and civil society on action plans, utilising technology platforms to systematically collect, analyse and report on work at sea, and connect workers to workers’ organisations to implement such systems and remediate the situation”.

The report recommends that the Thai government ratifies the nine core conventions of the International Labour Organization – specifically conventions 87, 98, 29, 105, 138, 182, 100, 111, and 188. Convention 188 relates to work and rest hours, for example.

The Phnom Penh Post reached out to Cambodian fishermen in Rakyorng province in Thailand by phone to gain an insight into the problems Cambodian migrants face in the fishing industry.

One Cambodian, Chork Ny, 30, from Svay Rieng province, has been working in Thailand for more than two years, and has faced many difficulties with his employer.

“I didn’t get a written contract for my working days or working hours, and I have worked both day shifts and night shifts. My salary was also not written in a contract – I only got oral contract details from my employer that my salary is 10,000 baht ($315) without an explanation of contract duration, working hours or other conditions,” he said.

Heng Sour, spokesman at the Ministry of Labour, could not be reached for comment.

Khun Tharo, project officer at NGO Central, said: “The Thai government has not yet ratified the core conventions of the ILO, specifically Convention 87 on the right to form unions and associations, and Convention 98, the right to collective bargaining. The Thai labour law also does not include protection mechanisms for foreign fishing workers.”

“At the same time, the Cambodian and Thai governments have signed a memorandum of understanding about sending and receiving migrant workers, including fisherman. The Cambodian government has to review the MoU to ensure good working conditions,” he said.

“The government should look at the bilateral agreement between Cambodia and Thailand . . . the government needs to ensure the protection of their workers.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration