MMI Women Workers Struggle

01 Jul 2006   |  ASEAN Migrant Workers   |  Thailand  

MMI Women Workers Struggle

The Computer Part and Electronics Labour Union released information on 12th and 15 December 2003 that the management of MMI Precision (Thailand) Ltd abused their employee\'s, mostly Thai women workers.

On 9th. December 2003, MMI locked-out 1300 women workers after refusing to negotiate the Collective Agreement with the trade union. The UNION negotiated in the 2003 Collective bargaining agreement to abolish Labour supplier practices and sub contracting. That workers who perform the same job must be paid the same and all must have job security, as regular employees of MMI (Thailand). The Union viewed the practice of Labour supply as unfair labour practice on the part of MMI (Thailand) and MMI Holdings Singapore Limited.

Thai Women Workers abused by MMI Precision Ltd

MMI Precision (Thailand) Ltd is a subsidiary company of MMI Holdings (Singapore) Limited. The Computer Part and Electronics Labour Union released information on 12th and 15 December 2003 that the management of MMI Precision (Thailand) Ltd abused their employee\'s, mostly Thai women workers.

The Computer Part and Electronics Labour Union released information on 12th and 15 December 2003 that the management of MMI Precision (Thailand) Ltd abused their employee\'s, mostly Thai women workers.

On 9th. December 2003, MMI locked-out 1300 women workers after refusing to negotiate the Collective Agreement for 2003 with the trade union. In 2002, the Union won a bonus dispute in the Thail Labour court and the compnay was make pay two months bonus for regular workers.

The women workers prefer a negotiated settlement. They have request MMI to call-off the lock-out and allow them to return to work. They want MMI to redress the problems faced by the workers and issues raised in the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiation. The Union\'s demands includes a change in the status of \"contract workers\" into regular workers; and to stop the practice of labour agency supplying workers to the company.

The workers want MMI to respect and practice fundamental labour rights and freedoms, the core labour rights of ILO, and norms of the UN Human Rights charter. They call on Multi-National companies like MMI Holdings (Singapore) not to have discriminative practices and standards, one in Singapore and another in Thailand or Malaysia or China.

MMI Women Workers Need Support

Women workers from the labour supplier are forced to abort their unborn babies due to fear of being dismissed. There was a labour case pending for non payment of maternity benefits by the labour supplier companies. This case was won by the worker. The women workers from labour suppliers were warned that in the event of pregnancy, the women worker will be dismissed.

The labour suppliers does not pay the workers in time, giving various excuses that MMI (Thailand) has not paid them. Then they loan the workers money with an interest of 20%, for the worker to meet their commitments.

Contract workers are not protected by the labour law. And the company imposes a regulation whereby women workers employed less than one year are not allowed to get pregnant; and they would be fired immediately for failing to observe this regulation. A worker is required to submit a doctor certificate once declaring a sick leave even for one day; failing to do so would automatically exempt the management from paying the worker his/her daily wage. Contract workers are also being discriminated against in terms of welfare benefits. Through collective bargaining, regular workers have been able to negotiate for 3 new sets of uniforms and 2 pairs of shoes per year plus baht 450 diligence pay and some bonus. On the contrary, benefits enjoyed by contract workers are baht 150 diligence pay, without annual bonus payment. Contract workers are also subject to conditions such as scorning, rotation and dismissal without compensation once failing to comply with the management’s orders. Contract workers do not join union since they fear losing their jobs. This in turn weakened the union as the management can easily bust the union facing declining membership. As a consequence, regular workers constantly lost their benefits secured through collective bargaining over the past years. Moreover, the management often failed to comply with the CBA to the extent that the union had to file a legal suit with the labour court.

Apart from employing agency workers to work in the assembly line, MMI has been outsourcing parts of the production to small factories in the outskirts of Bangkok. At present, there are at least 7 factories employing around 300 workers. MMI invests into the machinery of these small factories. Workers employed in these small subcontracting factories are undocumented, paid below minimum wage (baht 120-130 per day), lack labour law protection, and have no social security benefits. Without proper inspection of the Ministry of Labour’s authority, workers in the small factories are subject to hazardous working conditions.


Regular employees and employees of labour supplier [contract workers]
The working conditions of the regular employees and employees of labour supplier is discriminative:

Regular Employees
Wages: 180 - 250 Bath per Day
Annual Leave: Follow Labour Law with pay
Sick Leave: Follow labour law with pay Over Time: Follow Labour Law. One and Half times payment
Maternity: Benefit Follow the Labour Law. 3 months payment
Labour Laws: All labour Law benefits are applicable

Employees of Labour Supplier
Wages:
1. 169-175 Bath per Day. Minimum Wages in Bangkok and in Pathun Thani is 169 Bath.
2. The Labour supply companies get 250 Bath per worker per Day. They Make a profit of 70 bath   per worker per day.
3. The regular workers train the casual workers but the Labour supplier deducts from the casual workers Bath 1000 for providing training. 4. There is no uniform supplied etc.

Annual Leave: No paid annual leave entitlement.
Sick Leave: No sick leave payment and entitlement
Over Time: Overtime payment is paid below the labour Law. Only the normal payment.
Maternity Benefit: Pregnant women workers are dismissed.
Labour Laws: Some Labour Law Benefits are applicable.


Mass lay-off sparks rights concerns [24 July 2004]

\"The National Human Rights Commission has voiced concern at the recent lay-off of 200 workers, 11 of them pregnant, at a Singaporean-owned electronics plant.\" Sunee Chaiyaros, a commissioner for workers\' rights, said the Labour Ministry should step in to make sure the laid-off workers had been treated legally and fairly.

MMI Precision Co, manufacturer of electronics and computer parts, recently laid off the workers under a downsizing plan.

Ms Sunee said the pregnant women could be suffering from pregnancy-related stress after losing their jobs.

It is against the law to lay off workers because they are pregnant, she said.

\'\'We feel uncomfortable about this. The employers do have the right (to lay off employees), but labour officials have an obligation to find out the real reason for the lay-offs,\'\' she said.

Ms Sunee said the commission would try to persuade the firm to reinstate the pregnant workers.

A 31-year-old worker who was six months\' pregnant said she badly needed her job back because she had no financial security. Her savings were running out and she had a lot of expenses.

NGOs have called for an investigation into the lay-offs as they suspect workers\' rights were violated.

This is not the first time that MMI Precision has faced such complaints. Earlier this year, the company laid off workers and imposed a subcontract system which allegedly stripped workers of welfare benefits and other privileges.

Noppadol Thapmongkol, MMI personnel manager, said the lay-offs then were made purely for business reasons and pregnant workers had received extra compensation. He said about 50-60 of the 1,200 laid-off workers were pregnant but only a few took the matter to the Human Rights Commission.

Source: Penchan Charoensutthiphan, \"Mass lay-off sparks rights concerns,\" The Bangkok Post, 24 July 2004.


Leave a comment