Real estate company abandons migrant workers in Chiang Mai without pay

More than 100 migrant workers employed on construction sites in northern Thailand have been left unpaid by a real estate company.

According Prachatham News, at 9 am on Wednesday, 27 January 2016, 121 migrant workers demonstrated at the Labour Protection and Welfare Office of the northern province of Chiang Mai.

The migrant workers had been employed on 3 construction sites in Chiang Mai by Perfecto Company, a real estate development company. They came to ask for assistance from the Thai authorities as they have not been paid since 16 December 2015.

According to the Migrant Workers Federation (MWF), a civil society group supporting migrant labourers, most of the workers cannot speak Thai.  They have not been paid for the period from 16 Dec 2015 to 15 Jan 2016, when the company decided to halt construction. Their salaries and compensation together added up to 3,461,602.80 baht (about 96,510 USD).

The total amount owed by the company is divided into 554, 850 baht in advance payments of one-month and 2,036,100 baht in compensation.  

MWF added that the workers have tried to contact the company, but it has closed its office.  The landlord who owns the area which Perfecto Company rented out for worker accommodation also said that the company has not paid the rent.

Muai-u Nanta of MWF said that many workers are now left destitute as the owner of the worker accommodation has cut off the water supply and electricity and many of them do not have enough money to find somewhere new to rent.

MWF also said that it will help the workers to file charges against the company, because the employers also allegedly forged documents on working hours in order to pay the workers less.

Migrant worker demonstration at Chiang Mai Labour Protection and Welfare Office on 27 January 2016 (Photo from Prachatham)