Oxfam calls for workers in Thailand’s fishing industry to be given monthly wage

PHOTO: Flickr/Alex Berger

Employers in Thailand’s fishing industry are being urged to provide their workers with a monthly wage to improve their quality of life. The Bangkok Post reports that Oxfam in Thailand is calling on companies in the fishing sector to provide more help for their employees during the pandemic. Chakchai Comthongdee from Oxfam says most workers only receive a daily wage, with no payment for days they don’t work.

Chakchai says workers in the fishing industry should get a monthly wage that would improve their quality of life and allow them to plan ahead. For now, despite being guaranteed a minimum wage by law, many workers are unable to afford good quality food and medication.

“They have been struggling to make ends meet while their employers, major seafood producers, are making billions each year.”

Chakchai was speaking during an online seminar organised on Facebook by The Reporter group and entitled, “The hard life of fishing workers during Covid-19”. Suthasinee Kaewleklai from the Migrant Workers Rights Network has echoed the call for a monthly wage, as well as addressing the issue of Covid-19 transmission in the community. She says the spread of the virus is inevitable among fishing workers who can’t afford to quarantine themselves at a separate location due to a lack of money. In addition, workers who are self-isolating are deprived of a salary for the days they can’t work.

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The Bangkok Post reports that only fishing workers who are registered in the social security system receive state protection, with 50% of their salary guaranteed for 90 days. However, those who are not registered receive nothing from their employers, despite being legally entitled to paid sick leave by law. Suthasinee points out that daily wages were not enough even prior to the pandemic. Most workers have had to resort to getting loans from both legal and illegal lenders in order to make ends meet.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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