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02-05-11, 06:02 AM #1Paknam Web Online Staff
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On guard, seven days a week: Mother of two refused a holiday
On guard, seven days a week
Mother of two refused a holiday
Published: 2/05/2011 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News
Rassamee Ramsiri can't remember the last time she had a day off from her job as a security guard for a factory in Samut Prakan.
Even as most workers were out celebrating Labour Day yesterday, Ms Rassamee, 49, said she would rather work and save money than go out and spend it. But taking a day off is a luxury she cannot afford.
For two years, the single mother of two has been working 12 hours a day, from 7am to 7pm, without any days off or holidays.
She works for a company which supplies security guards to the factory in Phra Pradaeng district of Samut Prakan.
Saturdays and Sundays mean nothing to Ms Rassamee. It is work every single day for her.
Ms Rassamee said she is paid a flat monthly wage of 6,500 baht and no overtime.
It is take it or leave it, as there are many like her with meagre education who are waiting in line to take her place.
She finds the working conditions tough. But she would rather keep quiet because companies which recruit security guards are usually run by influential people in uniform.
To add insult to her misery, she found her male colleagues received overtime and one day off every week.
She turned to Paiboon Siripayak, a labour unionist, for advice.
He advised her to petition the Samut Prakan labour office, which ordered the company to pay her overdue overtime amounting to 48,000 baht.
Tula Patchimvej, a former sub-committee member of the National Human Rights Commission, said the company must be held to account for failing to pay Ms Rassamee overtime and the hours she worked on the days which were supposed to be her days off.
She was also discriminated against because male colleagues enjoyed "fairer" employment.
Mr Tula said the Rassamee case was just one of many. Many security guards sent to work at department stores complained to the NHRC that their employment contracts violated the labour law.
They worked longer hours than the legal limit and some were paid the bare minimum.
Those who quit were not paid their outstanding wages.
Job conditions at new security firms were rarely much better.
Many workers were afraid to lodge a formal complaint because the firms belong to influential figures in uniform.
Mr Tula said the workers have little or no education and they are often exploited.
Their pay is usually deducted each month for any "damage" which the workers cause to the factories they guard. The description of damage is very broad and even vague and it is hard for workers to avoid it.
The security firm contracted to supply the workers makes the workers financially responsible for the damage.
Anantachai Uthaipattanacheep, director of the labour protection office at the Labour Ministry, said most labour complaints stem from unpaid wages and overtime.
Labour law prohibits work exceeding 48 hours a week and overtime of more than 36 hours a week.
Workers must be given one day off a week if they work eight hours a day. The number of hours they work in excess of the eight hours is overtime, for which workers are entitled to twice the amount of their hourly wage.
If firms set the number of their normal working hours at 12 hours a day, they must allow workers three days off a week. Overtime in this case amounts to 1.5 times the hourly wage.
Mr Tula said that in the Rassamee case, her employer owed her 48,000 baht in unpaid overtime for normal working days and holidays over the past two years.
Ms Rassamee said she was stunned but happy with the petition ruling.
At the same time she felt uneasy, fearing the ruling could backfire on her and turn her employer against her.
02-05-11, 09:43 AM #2
Re: On guard, seven days a week: Mother of two refused a holiday
Would it be a safe bet that this lady is now unemployed? Companies certainly dont like being held to account for their underpayment of employees in Thailand. To get what you are legally owed, you pretty much have to be prepared to lose your job...... or so I believe.
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