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Thailand richtet Wirtschaftszonen ein
Erstellt von DisainaM, 07.06.2007, 19:44 Uhr · 0 Antworten · 520 Aufrufe
07.06.07, 19:44 #1
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Thailand richtet Wirtschaftszonen ein
Toiling in Thailand's sweatshops
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
The Thai government grandly calls it an "export- processing zone." A
more appropriate term for the town of Mae Sot, nestled in jungle-clad
hills on the border with army-ruled Burma, might be "sweatshop labor
Connected to Burma by a bridge that opened a decade ago, the once-
sleepy town is home to 235 mainly garment factories, manned by 36,000
legally registered migrant workers - and probably at least four times
that number of illegal ones.
Despite labor laws guaranteeing legal migrants basic rights such as a
standard eight-hour working day, paid overtime and a minimum wage, the
regulations are universally flouted, workers say.
Conditions are harsh in the factories, most of them Chinese- or
Taiwanese-owned and set up with special government investment and
export privileges. Clothes are exported to the United States and
Japan, among other markets.
Typically, migrants work 12-hour days, get one day off a month and are
paid around half the province's 147 baht (HK$34.68) daily minimum
"There were no fans and it was very hot," said Ya Zar, 38, a geography
graduate from Rangoon University who worked in a knitting factory for
four years before ill health forced him to quit.
"Sometimes the women got affected by the heat and fainted. A lot of
workers couldn't get enough rest so they became tired and sick," said
Ya Zar, who now works for the Joint Action Committee for Burmese
Affairs, which promotes labor rights among Burmese migrants.
Although there was no evidence found of child labor - Thai law defines
anybody aged 15 or above as eligible to work - an International Labor
Organization report last year accused the Mae Sot factories of
treating teenage workers like slaves.
"Mae Sot has perfected a system where children are literally working
day and night, week after week, for wages that are far below the legal
minimum wage, to the point of absolute exhaustion," the report
Aumnat Nanthahan, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries in Mae
Sot, 430 kilometers northwest of Bangkok, denies workers are
underpaid, saying employers deduct board and food from workers living
on-site, as well as administrative expenses.
"It depends on their food and where they are staying," Aunmant said.
"The Thai labor law is very strict. Workers work for eight hours a day
and beyond that is overtime. Maybe they choose no overtime because it
is their culture."
Many workers said dormitory conditions were so cramped they could
hardly sleep and the food was inedible.
"Our employer used to give us dirty water to drink and the rice was so
poor we couldn't eat it," said Yin Ma, 32, who has been working in Mae
Sot for four years and sending money back to her family in central
Unlike many of her colleagues, Yin Ma knew about Thai labor laws, but
when she tried to complain her employer took her work permit,
technically making her an illegal immigrant.
"I was scared that if I complained the police would come and I would
be deported," she said.
Only when she had quit did she have the time and courage to seek help
from a Thai legal charity and take her claim for 40,000 baht in unpaid
wages and overtime from her former boss, a Chinese businessman, to
court. If successful, the ruling could provide a major boost to the
570,000 Burmese and 743,000 Laotians and Cambodians legally working in
Thailand's farming, fisheries, industrial and construction sectors.
Despite the privations, many workers appear happy, saying they are
better off than being in Burma, where four decades of military rule,
economic mismanagement and Western sanctions have left the economy in
Mr Song, a Taiwanese factory manager, said the low wages are still way
higher than anything available in Burma. "We try to help them and do
the best for them because their homes and families are not in
Thailand," he said.
He declined to give the name of his factory.
Labor activists have tried to put pressure on the factories by
targeting the big-name brands that buy from them. The factories have
thwarted that strategy by stitching on labels elsewhere.
"We think the clothes go to the United States, but we don't know the
brand," said Aung Kyaw Soe. "They sew all the labels on at another
place in Bangkok."
Von Bajok Tower im Forum Politik und Wirtschaft außerhalb ThailandsAntworten: 100Letzter Beitrag: 14.04.12, 20:07