Decoding Workers' Organizing

Workers' organizing means consolidating of workers’ power to protect their rights and bargain over fair benefits with the management under the hierarchical management system that empowers to capitalist rather than workers.

We interview workers from six sectors, namely, domestic work, university, hospital, textile, sport equipment and bank. There are similarity and difference in terms of working conditions. All of the workers require labor organization in order to promote better living and freedom according to democratic principles. Therefore, trade unionizing is still important regardless of times.

  • Domestic worker. Ms. Malee Sorblec is working in the employer’s house. Domestic work is in the care sector which is growing. However, domestic workers are treated poorly and with no respect. Their status is lower than factory workers. As a result, they organize a labor group for both Thai and migrant workers to restore dignity and to be free from abuse. They are demanding written employment contract.
  • University worker. Mr. Pinyapan Potjanalawan is a university lecturer. Although the professional lecturers in public universities have high salary due to privatizing and leaving the state bureaucracy, they are in a trap of short-term employment contract causing the lack of job security and bargaining power against the executives and educational quality assessors. They do not have a union because of lack of class consciousness and being too individualistic.
  • Hospital worker. Ms. Punyisa Watchala-anan is a secretary of Nurses Union of Thailand. Nurses are being treated differently. They previously were under the state bureaucracy providing comprehensive welfare benefits. After privatization of public affairs, public hospitals have reduced labor standards and costs, resulting in poor quality of medical services for the nurses themselves. This situation has stimulated nurses to organize their union and demand pay raise, more benefits, better working environment and promotion in the management system.
  • Sport equipment maker. Ms. Wilaivan Ritthiron, former-president of Mikasa Thailand, worked for Mikasa Industries Company Thailand and now has been unfairly dismissed because she was part of union organizing and demanding of pay raise, more benefits, fair management, being safe and free from sexual harassment, which is one of key issues of campaigning for women’s rights on International Women's Day.
  • Textile worker. Mr. Sia Jampatong is the president of Phiphatsamphan Textile Labor Union and Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation Thailand, of which had long history of workers’ struggles. The unions could lever issues up from the distinct specific fight to the struggle for democracy and labor politics in which workers directly participate in state policy making and creating a universal welfare state because Thai politics should not be monopolized by the capitalists and elites, as it were.
  • Bank worker. Mr. Withit Sirisuwan, president of Siam Commercial Bank Labour Union reflects impacts of production system changes caused by using advanced technology such as digital platforms. The union agrees with the management to adjust and change original job positions into new job ones for the survival of banking business. The trade union, consequently, plays an important role in policy negotiations with against the management to ensure that advanced production will serve customers and workers as well.