• Thai minister settles worker import plan with Myanmar

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    BANGKOK: Thai and Myanmar labor ministers have agreed to proceed with a labor cooperation plan to import migrant workers through a government-to-government agreement, says a senior ministry official.

    Labor spokesman Theerapol Khunmuang said the plan is aimed not only at putting an end to labor exploitation and human trafficking, but also ensuring migrant workers’ rights are protected.

    The agreement was concluded on a recent visit to Myanmar by Labor Minister Gen Sirichai Distakul, he said, noting the meeting was a follow-up on the previous one in January in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of Myanmar.

    Theerapol said the meeting in Myanmar was also intended to prepare for an upcoming meeting of the Asean labor ministers in Laos in the middle of this month.

    Thailand has already signed a labor agreement with Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

    He said the Labor Ministry will submit the proposed government-to-government labor procurement agreement to the cabinet for approval.

    Both countries have agreed to set up working panels to prepare for the arrangement and launch of public-relations campaigns to inform workers about welfare benefits and expenses to prevent them from being exploited.

    Gen Sirichai had also allayed concerns that bringing in migrant workers would dislodge Thais from their jobs, saying the import was merely intended to ease a shortage in certain industries where Thais do not want to work.

    Meanwhile, the National Steering Reform Assembly (NRSA) on Wednesday endorsed a report calling for all-year round registration of migrant workers at permanent border checkpoints to encourage illegal workers to enter the labor system.

    The report, prepared by the NRSA committee on social affairs, intends to help bring illegal migrant workers into the system to ensure their rights are protected and they have a decent working environment, work safety, social protection and welfare, officials said. TNS

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