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BP: MAY DAY Workers demand job

May 2, 1998


                                 MAY DAY

              Workers demand
              job security

              Thousands celebrate at Sanam Luang

              Workers demanded greater job security, including a new
              unemployment insurance law, a minimum wage review every six
              months, and a waiver on income tax on compensation, as they
              celebrated May Day yesterday.

              Thousands of union members were at Sanam Luang, where their
              leaders demanded better employment protection.

              Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai told them he would not neglect
              them, but called for cooperation to prevent further bankruptcies.

              As he spoke the government began rounding up illegal
              immigrants for deportation. Many employers have suspended
              employment of illegal immigrants and arranged for transportation
              to send them home across the border.

              Some Burmese immigrants were seen crossing the Moei River in
              Mae Sot into Burma to avoid possible punishment by Thai

              A Burmese national became the first casualty of the campaign
              when a bus taking him and other illegal immigrants overturned in

              Thirty others, mostly illegally employed at factories in Katumban,
              Samut Sakhon, were injured.

              Those who made it across the Moei River appeared reluctant to
              move deeper inside Burma, fearing for their safety.

              Immigration officials in Tak said 1,000 Burmese were deported
              yesterday, bringing the total month-long repatriation head count
              to 30,000.

              Deputy Prime Minister Bhichai Rattakul said that although the
              cabinet has decided to ease the campaign by allowing illegal
              immigrants to work in 13 border provinces, it has yet to decide
              on the type of occupations to be open to them.

              Illegal immigrants will also be allowed to take up jobs on
              trawlers in 22 coastal provinces while awaiting repatriation, he

              Operators of more than 1,000 trawlers in Chumphon have
              decided to keep their fishing vessels away from the shore for fear
              of being arrested for hiring foreign workers.

              Many business people are still unclear about what exactly is
              government policy on the issue.


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Last Modified: Mon, May 4, 1998