The Thai government agreed to ratify two key international worker rights standards this week, following a 3,000-strong rally made up of workers from all national federations, unions, networks of migrant workers and informal workers, and allied organizations.
Workers marched to the offices of the prime minister and cabinet ministers, demanding the government ratify International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 87 on freedom of association and Convention 98 on the right to organize and bargain collectively. At the Government House, the deputy prime minister signed a memorandum of understanding with leaders of the Thai labor movement agreeing to ratify the two conventions by May 1, 2014.
The government also promised to discuss the issue in the cabinet meeting this month and to set up a working group of labor and government representatives to follow up on the ratification process within 60 days. Thai trade unionists say they plan to keep up efforts to ensure the government follows through, because plans for passage of the two worker rights laws have stalled in the past.
The Thai Labor Solidarity Committee (TLSC) and the State Enterprises Workers’ Relation Confederation (SERC) organized the rally, held as part of Oct. 7, World Day Decent Work, events.