By Mahn Saimon
Up to 1000 Burmese migrants have reportedly burnt vehicles and assaulted a security guard and policeman after a fight broke out on Wednesday between workers and security at a factory in central Thailand.
An employee at the Saha Farm chicken factory in Phetchabun province said the brawl started when a Thai security guard stopped a Burmese worker playing guitar at night time, allegedly against the factory regulations. The security hit the worker on the head with his gun, causing him to bleed.
Around 1000 Burmese workers in the factory, enraged by the incident, then apprehended the guard and destroyed three vehicles owned by the company. They also beat up and smashed the camera of a policeman who came to film the incident.
“We asked the [factory management] how they would solve the case and they couldn’t give an answer so the Burmese went on a rampage,” said one of the nearly 5,000 Burmese migrants working in the factory. “They destroyed about four cars and four motorbikes and dumped them into a fish pond.”
The factory owner agreed to pay 20,000THB ($US670) compensation for the Burmese worker hit by the guard, as well as 50,000THB for the policeman, who needed 23 stitches in his head.
The manager of the company that owns the Saha Farm factory said that Burmese migrants were vital workforce and had been provided with full labour rights and facilities, as directed by Thai law, as well as their pay yearly.
Andy Hall, from the Thailand-based Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), told DVB however that the incident was a sign that Burmese migrant workers in Thailand still lacked proper protection in the workplace, despite the Nationality Verification Process.
Negotiations are reportedly going on today between the workers and factory owners.