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‘Shock and disbelief’ greet Thai labour court decision
28 July 2011
The ITF has responded with ‘shock and disbelief’ to today’s Thai Labour Court decision to allow the dismissal of seven leaders of the SRUT railway workers’ trade union for their part in a safety-related industrial action two years ago, and the imposition of a THB15 million fine against them.
The union officials are being punished by the management of the State Railways of Thailand (SRT) for their part in industrial action taken in October 2009 to publicise the deplorable safety failings on the network which led to two derailments and one fatal accident in four days that month. The accident killed seven and injured many others. The driver had had one rest day in the previous 30 days. The driver’s ‘deadman’s handle’ system was not working, and, unbelievably, only 20 per cent of locomotives were even equipped with such a fundamental piece of equipment, according to the union.
ITF general secretary David Cockroft said: “The ITF is calling into question the independence and fairness of the court in reaching this decision. We are concerned by the judge’s statement that basic safety devices found worldwide on trains are nothing more than ‘supplementary devices’. We are similarly sceptical about his having ignored the fact that a recent civil court case, involving a mother who lost her daughter in a railway crash that led to the industrial action, found against the management of SRT, to the tune of THB1 million.”
According to the ITF the injustice of this whole affair is exacerbated by legislation that refuses to allow legitimate industrial action in public enterprises. The union will appeal today’s decision and the ITF strongly cautions the SRT not to try and sack the men before the appeal can be lodged.
The ITF organised a mission to Thailand in 2010 to study safety standards in the SRT. It held various meetings with the representatives of trade unions, management, government, and the International Labour Organization. For more details of the mission’s findings see www.itfglobal.org/solidarity/thairail.cfm
For more information contact ITF press officer, Sam Dawson.
Direct line: + 44 (0)20 7940 9260.
International Transport Workers' Federation - ITF:
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Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7403 2733
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