The Worker's Lens
Mr. Von (Cambodian Worker)
I wonder and would like to know more about the cost breakdown in the MOU process. All these costs should be listed and shared clearly with job seekers or workers. As I saw, workers paid differently to RAs or their employers. Workers don't even know if the amounts they pay for the recruitment process are legal or not.
Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand
"Due to the rising operating costs, the boat owners have ceased fishing operations. This has left us in a difficult situation as we relied on the income from working on the fishing boat for our meals. Now, we are facing financial troubles, which is why I had to seek odd jobs to cover our household expenses"
"Organizations should support and empower migrant workers, enabling them to speak up without fear. It's not enough to solely focus on completing tasks and projects. In the long term, it's crucial to ensure that workers are aware of their rights and equipped to address issues independently. Prioritizing their abilities and empowerment should be our primary concern, while other matters can be addressed subsequently."
Mr. Setha (Cambodian Worker)
Right now, there are still labor issues at the workplace in some factories, even though they are documented workers. The issues with target setting, limited to the toilet break and verbal abuse. It would be great if the NGOs or Buyers could visit the factory or workplace regularly. It will help better when visitors come, such as auditors, buyers, and NGOs. But somehow, workers also used to face the problem when audits come to interview workers, because they don’t keep it confidential, and workers are targeted. Thanks to Issara, my workplace is getting better, and we feel free to reach out to Issara for support. It is really helpful.
"No one believes that we got a job at zero cost until now. When we connect with zero-cost job opportunities, other people say it's a lie and they will cheat you, something like that. They also say, 'Believe it or not, they will come back soon.' Therefore, we are making efforts to avoid going back home and trying to learn about worker rights and ethical recruitment knowledge to effectively explain to those who don't believe."
Fisherman's wife (Myanmar Worker)
"Despite organizations repeatedly coming and asking for the same things, no progress is made. Nonetheless, we are grateful for the chance to share our problems. With my increased understanding of labor rights, I aim to assist others in avoiding similar issues. My only hope is that labor rights organizations can offer practical solutions and make better decisions for fishermen. I have no other desires."
Self-Help Group (Myanmar Worker)
"We take risks by working in foreign lands, driven by the purpose of supporting our families. Unfortunately, if they were to lose their lives here, we would strive to help them rest in peace, just like as they would in their native town (Mother Land). It is our collective responsibility to ensure that their journey concludes with dignity. Hence, we established a small social support organization, ensuring that our migrant workers don't feel alone in this unfamiliar land. By doing so with care, their remaining family members can find solace knowing their loved ones are at peace."
Ms. Saing (Cambodian Worker)
Due to the limited understanding and knowledge, workers lose their rights, such as SSO benefits, insurance protection, etc. And more serious is the issue with the middleman helping workers process the documents; they ask for money first from the workers and charge the worker unreasonably up to 35,000 baht. Workers work for 1-2 years just for the document fee; there is not much for saving and sending back home. This is the main issue that workers are facing nowadays and the one that concerns them most. One more thing, due to the language barrier, workers didn’t know much about their rights and benefits. Each factory should have interpreters to communicate with the workers and educate them about labor rights. As workers lack this, they either dare not raise their voice or don’t know how to find support and claim their rights, so they easily get cheated. The government and RAs should find a way to raise awareness before workers leave the country, especially about job opportunities, to avoid bad brokers.
Ms. Kyi Kyi (Myanmar Worker)
Samut Prakan, Thailand
Pregnant workers face safety challenges at their workplace when their employer doesn't follow the rules for maternity rights according to the Thai Labor Protection Act. They are asked to do tasks that are normally done by non-pregnant workers, like lifting heavy things and walking on slippery floors. Sometimes, they're even told to hide near the restroom when important visitors come, so the visitors don't know they are doing the same work as others.
Mr. Sokung (Cambodian Worker)
I want to raise concerns about labor rights. Some workers still face verbal abuse and labor exploitation. Related to labor exploitation, workers are assigned to work on many tasks beyond what they can do. And the other thing is benefits to workers; the business does not provide the benefits fairly and rightfully to the workers. Ex.: The OT rate on holidays is 2X for migrant workers but 3X for Thai workers. And some other benefits, such as a due diligence allowance, were mentioned in company policy but not provided.