More than 100 Burmese migrant workers working as security guard in Mae Sot, western Thailand, have been dismissed from their jobs due to Thai labour regulations.
According to a new law laid down by the Thai government in March, all day guards, night guards, and gate security guards must be Thai citizens with at least a 9th-grade education.
However, this is the first time such a large group of Burmese security guards have been let go from their jobs.
Burmese Ko Aung Tin, who has worked as a security guard for the last eight years, said that his bosses told him the dismissal was a temporary measure, but they could not tell him when he would get his job back.
“I had to stop working on the first of this month,” he told DVB by phone. “Even though the owner said it was a temporary measure I cannot apply for work elsewhere.
“I have been working as a security guard for eight years and can speak Thai very well. Now I have had no work for six days. About 20 of my friends also lost their jobs.
“In Mae Sot, there are many factories, and the security guards are mostly Burmese or Karen. I think hundreds of people could lose their jobs. I want compensation according to the law.”
According to Thai labour laws, the minimum wage is 300 baht (US$8.50) per day. However, Ko Aung Tin said he and other migrant security guards would work a whole month without a day off for just 4,100 baht ($116), and they were deducted 200 baht if they took a day off.
He also claims that he has not yet been paid his last month’s salary.
All Thailand Migrant Workers Network general-secretary Moe Joe confirmed that more than a hundred Burmese security guards had lost their jobs in Mae Sot. He said that if they are not fairly compensated, his group will request assistance from the Burmese government.
“According to Thai law, if a business owner wants to dismiss a worker who has worked there for more than four months, he or she should qualify for that same amount of time,” he told DVB. “If someone has worked for three years and get dismissed, they must get three years’ compensation. Any dismissal without compensation is a breach of the law, and we will take the matter up with Burma’s State Counsellor and the Ministry of Labour.”
The Migrant Assistance Program foundation, or MAP, based in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, confirmed that they were informed that migrant workers are no longer eligible to work as security guards in Thailand. However, they noted that this case in Mae Sot is the first of its kind.