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Thai confederation demands inclusion of ILO conventions in FTA negotiations

IndustriALL Global Union - 7 June 2024

Thai confederation demands inclusion of ILO conventions in FTA negotiations

Prasit Prasopsuk, IndustriALL affiliate CILT president, said Conventions 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize) and 98 (on Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining) are particularly important to Thai workers as they are facing endless anti-union discrimination, the two conventions should be one of the main prerequisites for FTA negotiations.

“We emphasized that trade negotiations must take sustainable development and protection of labour rights into consideration. The Thai government must engage stakeholders such as ILO and CILT in FTA negotiations and monitor its outcome,”

EU representative, Petros Sourmelis, head of the economic and trade section confirmed that the draft sustainability chapter in the EU-Thailand FTA has included ILO fundamental conventions on freedom of association, forced labour, child labour and discrimination. The EU is now waiting for a response from the Thai government.

He said that when the EU-Thailand FTA is ratified and in force, the EU shall conduct a two-year policy review on the compliance of sustainability chapter and ILO standards. Trade unions have the right to provide information relating to violations of workers’ rights to the EU.

Since 2023, CILT and 25 labour organizations in Thailand have formed the ILO 8798 Convention driving network to demand immediate ratification of these Conventions.

Going forward, the network is planning to submit an open letter to the EU and the Thai government, in October, in conjunction with the next trade negotiation in Bangkok.

"Trade must bring benefits to people and workers. It is IndustriALL’s position that all free trade agreements must include enforceable international labour standards. We stand in solidarity with CILT to demand protection of freedom of association and right to collective bargaining in Thailand," said Ramon Certeza, IndustriALL regional secretary for South East Asia.

 source: IndustriALL Global Union