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NZ Company under fire in Thailand

Press release: National Distribution Union

Wednesday, November 21, 2007, 9.40am

NZ Company under fire in Thailand

“Graeme Hart’s Rank Group must immediately reinstate a Thailand trade union leader,” says Robert Reid, President of the National Distribution Union.

Thanetn Jhanluechai has been suspended, pending dismissal, from the Rank owned SIG packaging plant in Rayong, Thailand since April of this year.

An international campaign for the reinstatement of Mr Jhanluechai was launched on Monday 19 November with a demonstration of around 60 workers from SIG and their supporters outside the New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok. Further action took place in Geneva later that day.

“I was introduced to Mr Jhanluechai and the SIG union when I was in Thailand in May researching working conditions in Rayong, the economic zone that Fisher and Paykel had just announced they would be transferring their washing machine line to.

“Mr Jhanluechai was suspended pending dismissal by SIG just a few weeks before the company was bought by the Rank Group. His alleged crime was that he persuaded union members to take their Songkran (Thai New Year) holidays with their families instead of working.

“Now SIG has been bought by Graeme Hart, the Rank Group has the responsibility to resolve the matter by reinstating Mr Jhanluechai. Rank management say they are waiting for a decision of the Thailand Labour Court on the matter. But after five hearings the matter has still not been resolved. Rank has the power to resolve this matter themselves,” says Reid.

Both the NDU and the EPMU made representations to Rank and SIG senior management in May but to no avail. Both unions are now pleased to be part of the international campaign for Mr Jhanluechai’s reinstatement.

NDU secretary, Laila Harre again wrote to Rank on 19 November urging the company to resolve the issue with Mr Jhanluechai.

The NDU and EPMU are also preparing a complaint on the action of Rank under the OECD Guidelines on Multinationals. This will be lodged with NZ Government contact point next week.

ENDS

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