Bolstering the efforts to ensure decent working conditions for women migrants in Thai construction sector

ILO organized a roundtable meeting on ‘Safety, protection and rights of women construction workers in Thailand” to identify possible intervention to ensure equal and fair pay, better living conditions, safety and protection of women migrant construction workers.

News | 09 October 2019
Bangkok (ILO News) - Representatives from workers’ organizations, recruitment agencies, government departments, UN agencies, academic institutes and NGOs convened to exchange their agencies’ practical knowledge and experiences in the field of work and explore solutions to the predicaments women construction workers face.

According to the latest statistics (July 2019) from the Ministry of Labour, Thailand hosts approximately 2.8 million workers from Cambodia, Myanmar and Lao People's Democratic Republic. Among them 600,000 are working in the construction sector with 36 per cent of those being women. Looking for a more decent job and a better life, women migrants usually end up working in unsafe and/or unfair conditions.

‘An increase in women construction workers’ exposure to labour right abuse and exploitation has been witnessed owing to the absence of social protection under law, dangerous working conditions and the lack of attention paid to the issue,’ said Ms Boonwara Sumano Chenphuengpawn from Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) during the discussion.

Realizing the precarious living and working conditions of women migrants in the construction field in Thailand, Safe and Fair Programme, for the first time, carried out an event incorporating women migrants working in the construction industry into the programme’s beneficiary scope to identify possible intervention.

During the discussion, Dr Thaweerak Klinsukont, Vice President of Areeya Property Public Company Limited pointed out that “by ensuring that men and women workers get equal payment, skill development trainings and child friendly space for their children who live in construction camps, not only workers’ well-beings are better promoted, but the construction costs in total are also tremendously reduced.”

Mr Jarunchai Korsripitakkul, Director of Labour Protection Division commented that “a prospective cooperation between multi-stakeholders such as the Labour Right Promotion Network Foundation as a NGO and Areeya Propterty Plc as an employer in upgrading the working conditions of construction workers can be put forward’.

The fruitful and dynamic conversation shed lights on the vulnerability of construction workers, especially women migrants, despite the vital contributions they make to the economy, and highlights woman migrants’ need for equal and fair pay, assurance of safety, protection and better living conditions.

The participants highlighted the importance of the newly adopted Convention on Violence and Harassment, 2019 (No.190) and the Violence and Harassment Recommendation, 2019 (No. 206) as a guideline for different parties’ future actions against violence and harassment in the field.

‘Multistakeholders should continue to work closely with each other to ensure decent working conditions for women migrant workers in the construction sector in Thailand,’ said Mr Graeme Buckley, Director, ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic Republic. With the roundtable meeting serving as a starting point for knowledge and practices sharing among multistakeholders, more studies and campaigns aiming to promote good practices to a larger scale will be launched to step up the protection of the labour rights of women construction workers. The future work will not only focus on Thailand, but will also be expanded to Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar and other ASEAN countries.

The Safe and Fair programme is part of the Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls, a global, multi-year initiative between the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN). The programme is implemented through a partnership between the ILO and UN Women with the overriding objective of ensuring that labour migration is safe and fair for all women in the ASEAN region.

For further information please contact:

Pichit Phromkade
Communications Officer
Safe and Fair: Realizing women migrant worker’s rights and opportunities in the ASEAN region
Tel.: +66 (0) 2288 1762
Email: phromkade@ilo.org