Over 2 years ago, a group of Thai workers went to work in Libya with CKG Company and other companies. These workers signed employment agreements with these companies as a result of assistance from employment brokers certified by the Thai Ministry of Labour. Related costs for this assistance ranged from 150, 000 to 200, 000 baht. However, once workers completed their 2 years work, the employing companies refused to send the workers back to Thailand in breach of the employment agreements. As a result, 151 Thai workers currently remain stranded in Libya.
These workers are now facing significant hardships, as are their families. As for the workers in Libya, they are currently squatting with friends in worker camps who are their only source of food, they have no work, they have no money, and they desperately want to return to Thailand. They cannot leave Libya without documents for which their bankrupt Libyan employers must respond.
Families of these workers in Thailand are very worried. One worker was involved in a car accident and has had to have his stomach stitched up. He does not have enough food to sustain himself, and had no money as prior to his accident as he had not received his salary for a long time. Previously, Thai workers in Libya requested assistance from the Thai Consulate in Libya, who then requested CKG company to solve these problems. CKG did not assist as promised, and until today, these workers have received no official assistance from those who should respond for such issues.
The Network to Assist Thai Workers Abroad (NATA) has now been formed to assist these workers. The network consists of the Legal Center for Society at the Faculty of Law, Khon Kaen University, the Thai Center for Labour Rights, Khon Kaen Consumer Association, the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), the Labour Union Network for Society and the families of Thai workers stranded in Libya. As these workers remain stranded in Libya, NATA will tomorrow (15th October) request the assistance of the Thai Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, as well as the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, to bring these workers home to Thailand.
Demands of the Families of Stranded Thai Workers in Libya, supported by NATA
1. We request the Prime Minister to assist to bring the 151 Thai workers stranded in Libya back to Thailand urgently;
2. We request the Prime Minister to set up a committee to investigate the conduct of officials and recruitment companies/agencies that are or were involved in sending Thai workers to Libya, and are not now able to assist to bring these workers home after 8 months. If there is any evidence of misconduct arising from this investigation, we request the Prime Minister to assist these workers to launch civil and criminal cases against those responsible to ensure they are provided with appropriate compensation. In addition, the revocation of company licenses to send workers overseas for those companies involved should be considered;
3. We request the Prime Minister to issue orders to ensure the workers in Libya receive wages and damages from the companies involved in Libya;
4. We request the Prime Minister to issue orders to establish coordinating officials to deal with these workers’ debt issues that resulted from their travelling to work in Libya, or otherwise allocate appropriate funds to assist them;
5. We request the Prime Minister to issue orders to establish coordinating officials to assist these stranded workers once they return to Thailand from Libya