An MoU has been signed allowing Myanmar workers to be sent to legally work in Thailand’s marine sector. The Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population has led efforts to acquire the guarantee of the Thai Government for the full protection of Myanmar marine workers.
Statistics from Thailand’s side show the number of Myanmar workers from Taninthayi Region, Ayeyawady Region, Mon State and Rakhine State going to work in Thailand. There are 40,000 Myanmar fishermen, 45,000 Myanmar workers in sectors relating to fishery, and 51,000 Myanmar workers working in fishery product factories.
The Union Minister for Labour, Immigration and Population has said that among the fishermen and people working in the fishing sector in Thailand are a vulnerable group and thus need special care and attention.
In 2016 when the National League for Democracy government took office, Myanmar and Thailand signed the first ever Memorandum of Understanding-MoU on helping Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand’s fishery sector.
The two sides agreed to open a “one-stop” office in southern Thailand’s Ranong province to facilitate the recruitment of Myanmar migrant workers by Thai fishing companies and to provide any assistance the Myanmar migrant workers might need.
Official workers who will be sent to Thailand under the MoU System will obtain full legal rights to work on fishing boats.
At this office, workers will be provided with pre-work training courses, workers identity and they need to sign the employment agreements.
For this MoU system to be successful, effective action must be taken against brokers, agencies from the two countries that are conducting their work inappropriately and employers who violate the rights of the workers.
Help and assistance centers, where 24-hour service can be provided for workers in need must be opened in ports of the 22 provinces in Thailand. Staff who can speak in Myanmar language need to be employed there and Myanmar workers must have equal rights in the same way as other workers.
They must have the right to hold a proper document, have insurance coverage, obtain medical treatment, leave benefits and freedom to travel. The Union Minister said more friendly cooperation is needed between the two countries and welcomed the opening of the One Stop Service Center.
Fishermen already working in Thailand will soon be covered by all of the provisions and protections guaranteed under the said MoU.