September 11th 2010
4th day of strike at the Dechapanich Fishing Net Factory, Khon Kaen
The demands of the 1,000 striking workers at the Dechanpanich Fishing Net Factory in Khon Kaen continue to fall on deaf ears. The employer has made no moves to sit down and negotiate with the workers, despite their demands being very basic and in total compliance with Thai law. Instead, the employer has increased the number of security personnel in the grounds. The employer of the fishing net factory uses fellow factory workers to be security guards, entrusted to keep security among the thousands of workers in their crowded living and working conditions. The striking workers report that these security guards have been given knives and guns. Pitting migrant against migrant, the striking migrants are afraid that pandemonium may break out if these untrained security guards let loose on them. Already reports are filtering out of the factory of beatings.
At 6pm last night, some officials visited the factory, the workers believe they were from the Department of Employment. The officials offered to correct the documents of five of the workers who had been sacked and whose documents had been cancelled or changed. However, the migrants were fearful that these changes may not be authorized and any further deleting or writing in their passports may make them invalid in the eyes of the Burmese authorities. And the Burmese Overseas Workers ID was issued by the Ministry of Labour in Burma and therefore needed the Burmese authorities to replace them. The workers therefore asked for the officials from the Burmese embassy to be present. It is uncertain if the Burmese embassy has been contacted or whether they intend to provide any assistance to their citizens.
The employer has told the migrants that they may strike until Sunday, and they must return to work on Monday but they have not informed the workers of how they intend to meet the workers demands. Nor have they informed them of what will happen if the workers do not return to work.
According to a trading company website, Dechapanich Fishing Net Factory (DFN) boasts that it is one of the largest Nylon Fishing net factories in the world with more than 4,000 experienced employees and a production capacity of 250 tons per month. It exports to over 40 countries including USA., Finland, Denmark, Australia, Japan, Spain, Greece, Italy, Guatemala, Mexico, Canada etc.