The Price of Labour
Thailand has become the assembly-line for the world's electronics and textiles industries. Long hours, little pay and unfair dismissals are standard fare, and workers are taking to the streets in protest.
Half a million Thai people are now employed in Thailand's booming electronics sector. At this factory supplying Sony, HP and Dell, 12 hour shifts are standard fare, and salaries are less than 100 euros a month. "Most of the workers are young, unmarried women", says a journalist. To encourage investment, new companies in Thailand are exempt from taxes for several years. After this exemption period, factories close, and re-open under a new name, hiring new staff. Workers across Thailand are now demanding unpaid wages and preventing the management from starting again with cheaper labour. "It was a thorn in the side of the managers that we had organized ourselves", they say.