Thai shrimp processor to lay off 1,200 Burmese workers

Thai shrimp processor to lay off 1,200 Burmese workers

Nearly 1,200 migrant workers from Burma will be laid off in April by Charoen Pokphand Foods Plc (CPF), a seafood processing company based in Samut Sakhon, Thailand.

CFP has promised to pay 50 million baht (US$1.67 million) severance for termination of the subcontracted labour.

The company will soon suspend operations due to a material shortage caused by the epidemic shrimp disease known as early mortality syndrome (EMS).

In early 2014, hundreds of Burmese workers had been laid off with no compensation. Workers complained to Thailand-based Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN) who advocated on their behalf.

Aung Kyaw, MWRN chairman, told DVB on Thursday that the amount of the compensation being offered by CFP is the highest in history. The severance agreement was reached after negotiations between the Thai government, employers, workers and the MWRN.

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“We cannot give protection to workers who were previously laid off. But those about to lose their jobs can contact us,” said Aung Kyaw.

Thailand’s export-driven shrimp industry – which earns approximately US$1.5 billion annually — employs about 650,000 people, mostly migrants from Burma who have little or no legal protection.

San Win Aung, a spokesman for the workers, said that employees would be paid from 9,000 baht to 100,000 baht compensation depending on their time and level of service. He said most were willing to accept the pay-off and had signed agreements to that effect on Tuesday.

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