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Bangkok airport security staff file lawsuit over pay cuts

Caitlin Ashworth

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Bangkok airport security staff file lawsuit over pay cuts | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Airpaz
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“They saw us as security guards and looked down on us since we had little education, they thought they could trick us into signing those papers.”

Some security staff at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport say they were tricked into pay cuts claiming they were told to sign new contract or they could lose their jobs. 10 staff members filed a lawsuit against ASM Management, a security company hired by Airports of Thailand, or AoT.

The staff claim they were told to resign from ASM and sign a new contract because AoT, was restructuring. They were left with lower pay and no benefits such as a transport allowance. The workers filed the lawsuit in July, suing ASM for termination without severance pay and not paying the workers for the notice period.

The new contract is under AoT AVSEC, which is a joint venture between AoT Aviation Security, ASM Management and 2 other security companies. AoT manages 6 airports, all have been hit hard by the coronavirus. Reuters reporters reached out to ASM and AoT, but both declined to be interviewed.

AoT AVSEC’s human resources manager says the staff was “transferred” from ASM and they did not make the workers sign resignation letters. He says the salaries are in line with their years of experience, adding that they also had to make pandemic-related cuts to working hours.

Many labour rights activists have spoken up about companies taking advantage of workers during the pandemic like cutting costs and making workers agree to worse conditions. Some foreign English teachers, for example, have taken on more classes. Some cases have been non-negotiable with no discussion on overtime pay. For airports, top airlines around the world have announced layoffs, wage cuts and unpaid leave for staff after the pandemic disrupted air travel.

For the Suvarnabhumi security guards, the new contract was changed in April during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak. Security guard Komkrich Dearkhuntod says both him and around 100 other co-workers were all asked to resign and then sign another contract. They only had 10 minutes to think about it, he says.

“Our supervisor told us everything (at AoT AVSEC) would be better than at ASM… They saw us as security guards and looked down on us since we had little education, they thought they could trick us into signing those papers.”

Thomson Reuters Foundation spoke with many workers and say that while hundreds of people were affected by the contract change, many are staying quiet to keep their jobs.

A worker, named in the lawsuit as Ploy, says she signed the new AoT AVSEC for 14,000 baht a month, a 700 baht cut from what she earned before. Her benefits were also taken away. A couple months later, AoT AVSEC cut her hours and she only earned 11,000.

“The only way I can survive … is by taking another job selling food, which gives me enough money to feed myself.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Bangkok

Around 10 villagers hospitalised after chemical spill in Samut Prakan

Caitlin Ashworth

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Around 10 villagers hospitalised after chemical spill in Samut Prakan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sanook

Around 10 people were hospitalised after a chemical tank spilled at a village in Samut Prakan, just southeast of Bangkok. Those near the spill reported feeling nauseous and some had trouble breathing. Officials do not known what chemical was in the tank.

The 1 metre tank had been taken to the woods by 2 employees at a Bangphli Niwet Village second hand shop who hoped they could take it apart and sell the scrap metal. The 2 employees fainted when the tank spilled. Trees and grass in a 100 metre radius of the chemical spill died.

The chemical let off a strong odour and Thai media says the fumes spread to the village. Those at the second hand shop, close by to the chemical spill, started to feel nauseous and some had trouble breathing. Some people reported skin rashes after the incident. Around 10 villagers, including children, were sent to hospital.

Thai media says police secured the area and sprayed water into the air. 500 metres around the tank has been sealed off and workers are cleaning the area to remove the chemical. Medics are doing health checks to make sure others are not experiencing symptoms from the fumes.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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Crime

Man arrested for fake immigration documents operation at Bangkok grocery store

Caitlin Ashworth

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Man arrested for fake immigration documents operation at Bangkok grocery store | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Naewna

A Burmese man was arrested after he allegedly faked work permit documents and stamps, operating at a produce shop in Bangkok near the Myanmar Embassy. After a number of cases involving Burmese migrants with fake visa documents and bogus stamps, immigration officers investigated the grocery store, posing as customers.

Many customers entering the grocery store didn’t buy vegetables and were seen exchanging documents, according to Thai media. After going undercover and collecting evidence, immigration officials arrested the Burmese man, Thai media reports as Ong, and 2 women allegedly involved in the scheme. They searched the property and found a large number of Myanmar passports and various kinds of stamps.

Ong allegedly admitted to producing fake immigration stamps, work permit applications and other immigration documents. He charged around 2,000 to 3,000 baht for his services, police say. Ong, who has lived in Thailand for a while and can read Thai, allegedly told police he acquired legal work permits and the proper documents, becoming familiar with the stamps and documents needed by immigration. He allegedly told police he copied immigration stamps as well as stamps from hospitals used on medical certificates.

Thai media says immigration police are now expanding their investigation to crack down on other operations producing fake visa documents and stamps.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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Bangkok

Immigration police arrest 3 at Bangkok airport, 2 Thais allegedly had fake US visas

Caitlin Ashworth

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Immigration police arrest 3 at Bangkok airport, 2 Thais allegedly had fake US visas | The Thaiger
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Thai immigration police arrested 3 people at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport after immigration officials checked their biometrics system. Police arrested 2 Thai nationals who were attempting to leave the country with fake United States visas and another Thai woman who was allegedly involved in a romance scam gang.

The Thai man and woman were caught while going through an immigration check at the airport. They say they each paid 50,000 baht for the visas, hoping to travel to America. They sent their passports to the visa seller and had set up a meeting to pick them up. Thai media did not give details on who was selling the visas. Police called the United States Embassy, confirming the visas are fake and no visas from the United States have been issued under the 2 names.

Immigration police also arrested a Thai woman allegedly involved in money laundering and a romance scam gang, according to Thai media. Reports don’t go into detail about the woman’s charges, but say she was allegedly involved in international crime and had an Interpol red notice. Immigration officials confirmed her location by checking the airport’s biometrics system.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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