The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) has joined its Thai member unions the Thai Airways International Union (TG Union) and the State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation (SERC) to put the Thai government’s behaviour on trial at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Switzerland.
The Thai unions and ITF have submitted a catalogue of failures by the Thai government to defend the rights of workers to the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association. They are challenging the government to act in line with international conventions and norms.
The complaint says that the conduct of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (Thai Airways) in the dispute that prompted this complaint exposes a number of failures in Thai law to protect workers’ and trade union rights.
The complaint details the events following a spontaneous two-day protest by off duty Thai Airways staff from 18 January 2013 for a decent pay rise and bonus. Officials from the TG Union negotiated between the staff and management, and convinced them to end the protest. On 19 January the airline signed an agreement granting the pay and benefits demanded by the staff.
However, Thai Airways took legal action over the protest against four officials from the TG Union and a court ordered them to pay over USD 9, 000, 000.
Gabriel Mocho, ITF civil aviation secretary, said: “The TG Union acted in a way that is beyond reproach in this matter. It formed a vital link between management and the protestors, and without its involvement this dispute could have spiralled out of control. It is shameful that the union officials are being punished using Thai law for their constructive and supportive behaviour. We now call on the ILO to step in and force the government of Thailand to legally protect the rights of its workers, and correct this rotten legislation that is clearly in breach of international law.”
For more background see here http://goo.gl/zD3Bz5