Migrant workers get half pay, threatened and sacked by employer

Burmese migrant workers from a garment factory in the Thai border town of Mae Sot were threatened and then sacked by their employer earlier this week over a salary dispute.

The 18 migrant workers were working at the ‘Two Dragons’ [as known among Burmese migrant worker] garment factory in Mae Sot, Tak Province and were sacked on March 10 by the factory owner whom the workers allege had failed to pay their monthly salaries on the agreed time.

U Moe Kyo, from the Joint Action Committee for Burmese Affairs (JACBA) told Karen News that the sacked workers, 13 women and 5 men, are now staying at a safe house far from the danger of the employer.

Speaking to Karen News, U Moe Kyo said.

“These people still have their rights as migrant workers. Threatening and firing a worker is violating their workers’ rights.”

Following hours of negotiations between the employer, JACBA and officials from Tak’s Labor Protection Office, the employer finally agreed to pay the worker’s salary owed to them by March 21.

A sacked woman worker spoke to Karen News and claimed that her employer gave various reasons for why it did not pay workers’ salary on time. The workers said her employer later threatened workers with arrest before firing them.

“The factory set the due date for our salary payments on the 10th of every month. The boss hadn’t paid the salary for this month [March]. It was a coincidence that on the 10th of March was our day-off and we didn’t go to work. Later on, the employer met with us and paid us only half of our salary. He told us that if we didn’t take it, he would have us arrested and then, he just fired us.”

U Moe Kyo said the workers from ‘Two Dragons’ garment factory were paid 200 baht a day and 15 baht an hour overtime, but the workers did not get support for their food and accommodation. The newly opened ‘Two Dragons’ garment factory has been running for four months and this is the first dispute over salary between employer and workers.

According to workers at the ‘Two Dragons’ garment factory, there are 42 workers at the factory and not all of them have legal documents. Workers claim that although they requested their employer to register them, the employer had not done it, leaving them vulnerable to arrest and deportation.

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