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Cablegate: Labor Group Presses for Ratification of Ilo Conventions

VZCZCXRO7494
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHBK #3071 3380936
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040936Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9180
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS BANGKOK 003071

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958, AS AMENDED: N/A
TAGS: ELAB ECON TH
SUBJECT: Labor Group Presses for Ratification of ILO Conventions

REFTEL: BANGKOK 2032 (Labor Leaders Concerned About Rights and Less
Work)

SENSTIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.

1. (SBU) On November 20 Econoffs met with Manas Kosul, the head of
the Confederation of Thai Labor (CTL), at the organization's
headquarters in Samut Prakarn, approximately 45 minutes outside of
Bangkok. The CTL is one of Thailand's twelve national labor
congresses with approximately 70,000 members from 165 labor unions.
Accompanied by a team of nine confederation officers, Manas
explained that CTL's primary goal is Thailand's ratification of
International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions 87 and 98,
Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, and
Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining, respectively. He
explained that CTL representatives met Thai Labor Ministry officials
on October 26 to press for ratification of the Conventions and
improved enforcement of Thai labor laws.

2. (SBU) Manas praised the Ministry of Labor's efforts on the
Conventions, noting the Ministry established a committee, including
representatives from different labor confederations, to prepare for
ratification. Manas is hopeful ratification will take place before
a June 2010 International Labor Conference in Geneva. Ratification
of the convention has been a primary goal of other labor
organizations as well (reftel). (Note: A Ministry of Labor (MOL)
official told us October 9 that the RTG plans to seek ratification
of the Conventions, although she suggested a longer time frame will
be necessary. The MOL is planning a public hearing on the
Conventions, after which it hopes to recommend that the Cabinet
submit the Conventions to the Parliament for ratification. End
Note.)

3. (SBU) Manas reviewed other priority areas for the CTL, including
a reform of Thailand's minimum wage system. He explained that
between Thailand's 76 provinces, there are 23 different minimum wage
rates. CTL proposes an across-the-board increase to the minimum
wage and a modification to the minimum wage system. Its goal: to
decrease the difference between the lowest and the highest rates
that causes laborers to uproot themselves to move to other areas in
search of higher pay. Specifically, the CTL calls for wage rates to
be differentiated only by three zones: urban, rural, and suburban.

JOHN

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