MWRN office in Mahachai, Thailand.

Thai labour intensive export industries rely heavily on 2 to 4 million migrant workers, mostly from Myanmar and Cambodia. Whilst migrants are an essential part of the Thai labour force, these workers often face systematic rights violations and/or discrimination and are frequently subject to the negative impacts of ill thought out and piecemeal migration policies and regulations that leave migrants open to broker abuse, corrupt officials and prevent migrant labour market flexibility. 

Finnwatch and the Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN) have now commenced a three year joint collaborative project that will empower migrant workers to negotiate better working terms and conditions and improve migrant workers quality of life in Thailand.

"Migrants often lack accessible channels to voice complaints and have limited ability and confidence to negotiate better working terms. MWRN are working to change this in Thailand" says Sein Htay, President of MWRN.

Key project activities include research on migrant work conditions in Thai companies exporting to Europe, training workers on rights awareness, empowering workers to negotiate better working terms and conditions, setting up a legal help desk, strengthening MWRN's organisational capacity, recruiting new fee-paying members to MWRN as well as establishing a new MWRN office in Songkhla province, Southern Thailand in mid 2015.  This 3 year collaborative project is funded by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

"Finnwatch wants to support and strengthen a representative voice for migrant workers in Thailand. This project will empower migrant workers by enhancing the capacity and strength of MWRN as migrant workers' established grass roots movement in Thailand" says Sonja Vartiala, Executive Director of Finnwatch.

Project partners will work together in order to create space for negotiations between companies and their migrant worker staff. The project will combine effective grass roots empowerment and workplace negotiations in Thailand with European based media and corporate social responsibility advocacy work.