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Phuket Opinion: Honesty dealt a crushing blow

Phuket Opinion: Honesty dealt a crushing blow

PHUKET: As the dust settled on the building collapse that killed seven workers and left two more in hospital last week, the Thai bureaucracy trundled out the same old incredibly insensitive mantra – the families will be compensated, as if that were the top priority when seven people are crushed to death by a slab of concrete.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 1 December 2019, 09:00AM

Rescue workers recover the body of one of the seven workers crushed to death in the building collapse. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Rescue workers recover the body of one of the seven workers crushed to death in the building collapse. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

The officials involved in last week’s disaster, which at this stage appears to be Phuket’s deadliest workplace accident in decades, already had some practice just three months ago in the aftermath of the collapse at the condo construction site in Rawai that killed three Myanmar workers.

But this time some early noises were different, noticeably the assurance that compensation would be paid “even if the workers are not registered”. No further explanations have been forthcoming.

Even the Navy and marine officials staging a raid on a local fishing vessel are proud to quickly prove that all on board are legal. Not this time, the silence on this issue has been ominous.

Just nine days after the Rawai construction site collapse, the Phuket Provincial Employment Office (PPEO) held a seminar, as PPEO Chief Kattiya Pandech said, “to inform private companies, local administrative officers, community leaders, NGO, medias and public about the process and documents needed to register migrant workers”.

Like that was needed after we just killed three of them; now that highlights the ethical condition of our construction industry, but there it is. And that came more than 18 months after an “Emergency Decree” was issued in 2017 to crackdown on the “illegal importation” – that is, trafficking – of Myanmar labour.

Like with the inspiration for the 2017 crackdown, which saw hundreds, if not thousands, of migrant workers in Phuket dumped and abandoned by their illegal employers, the US is again breathing down Thailand’s neck, threatening economic sanctions if Thailand does not do more to protect, specifically, “basic workers rights”.

Only last month did the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs issue a statement to let the international arena know that Thailand is ramping up its efforts to protect workers. Any employer who hires illegal migrant workers shall be charged and fined, with repeat offenders imprisoned for up to a year and fined B50,000 to B200,000 for each worker – and prohibited from employing migrant workers for three years.

“This is to ensure that the protection of migrant workers’ rights is in line with the international standard,” said the statement, verbatim, issued on Oct 11.

Well Thailand, it’s time to prove you mean these very recent words, or stand to be shamed with embarrassment for your own failure to take action.

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Timothy | 01 December 2019 - 12:08:08

If they want to pretend to be so caring and brag about compensation, how about making the compensation same for all? Not 10 times more money for Thai's  and very little for the Burmese workers. This is the Thai superiority complex towards the migrant workers. Put them in sheet metal "camps" and work them 12 hours a day 7 days per week, If a few of them happen to die, oh well...

Kurt | 01 December 2019 - 12:01:38

The Officials list of who are responsible for disasters is getting bigger. Which Official did certify the Phoenix as a sea worthy vessel?  Which Official did let the Rawai building construction going on? Which Official did not prevent effectively the last week construction disaster? After all, there was a official construction stop.
There is a lot of 'dead wood' in Phuket Officialdom. 

Kurt | 01 December 2019 - 11:52:55

The thai veil of secrecy will hide which Thai Official is responsible that the building stop was not executive. Just publish, like it was a lottery, the compensations, and hope all the Officials incompetence dusk blows away. Next case, please.

Kurt | 01 December 2019 - 11:42:31

One would have expected that after the 3 Myanmar kills at a Rawai building site that Thai Officials would be more alert, not have accepted the continuation of that disastrous construction in Thalang area after Officials forbid around 9 Nov. to continue the construction. Laziness, Mai Pen Ra, and  
Ignorance is bliss here. A shame full loose face of Officialdom. What for to have such Officials?

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