Dozens of Cambodian migrant fisher leaders gathered in Khlong Yai on Monday for a Fishers’ Assembly. The fishers ratified the Fishers’ Rights Network (FRN) constitution and laid out their demands and goals for the year ahead.
The Khlong Yai fishers in Thailand’s Trat province join hundreds of FRN members in Songkhla and Ranong who are standing together to improve conditions for all fishers throughout the region, no matter what country they come from or what type of vessel they work on.
FRN activists are demanding an end to the labour and human rights abuses that remain ingrained in the Thai fishing industry. Unfortunately, exploitation of migrant fishers by Thai boat owners and captains is the painful daily reality for many fishers, due to the ineffective enforcement of laws and regulations that are continually skirted or violated.
The fishers assembly yesterday follows similar assemblies in Songkhla and Ranong.
Yesterday, FRN Trat leaders outlined and ratified their key demands:
- An increase of the minimum wage to 12,000 THB per month.
- An end to document retention.
- The elimination of debt bondage including passport, pink card, work permit, agent, broker or recruitment permit fees.
- Every fisher should have access to basic first aid training and access to a comprehensive medical kit on board each vessel.
- All fishers should be provided with copies of their employment contracts in their own language.
- Freedom of movement and the right to change boats without approval of boat owners.
Educating migrant fishers on their legal rights in Thailand, and working to organise and activate more fishers to stand up and defend their rights is a priority for FRN leaders.
The ITF – with the FRN in Thailand – is committed to building a democratic, representative union of fishers, that will campaign to improve the wages, working conditions and labour rights of all fishers in the Thai fishing industry and throughout the region.