AoK Ethics & Religion

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AoK Ethics & Religion

  1. 1. David Yang<br />Period 8 <br />2009/11/25<br />Research Question: <br />Should the Thai government allow the Burmese migrant workers to work in Thailand?<br />The news article in Bangkok Post dated on September 20, 2009 reported that “caring for migrant workers and their families is straining the provincial hospital to its limits, while in some border provinces many apparently go without needed treatment.” This article triggered controversy and hot debate on whether or not the Thai government should allow Burmese migrant workers to work in Thailand. There are nearly 1,500,000 Burmese migrant workers in Thailand. This huge population has caused some serious social problems such as abuse, crimes, rising unemployment rate and straining of public medical facilities in Thailand. Although Burmese migrant workers have filled the vacancy of some jobs that Thai people do not want to do, the Thai government should still restrict the Burmese migrant workers working in Thailand.<br />For the sake of the health and safety of Burmese migrant workers, the Thai government should not allow them to legally work in Thailand. Most of the Burmese migrant workers have poor working conditions. The Thai employers usually feed the Burmese migrant workers with dirty water and rice, which seriously affects their health conditions (Cropley). In addition, Burmese migrant workers are maltreated by their Thai employers. They are sometimes beaten for no reason even if they work hard as instructed by their Thai employers (Min). Overtime work is common practice in the workplace where Burmese migrant workers are employed. Despite the fact that the Thai labor law forbids unpaid overtime, many Thai employers turn a deaf ear to the law, forcing the Burmese migrant workers to work overtime, sometimes 24 hours a day (Min). What aggravates the conditions of the Burmese migrant workers is that some Thai police officers and local officials are involved in the mistreatment of Burmese migrant workers. A news article in Thai Press Reports dated June 13, 2005 reported that a London-based organization found that “migrant workers faced mistreatment, harassment and intimidation by employers, police and local officials.” (“Thailand: uses”) Taking into account the deteriorating health and safety conditions of the Burmese migrant workers, the Thai government should act promptly to disband the practice of employing the Burmese migrant workers. <br />People who are strongly against the move to disband the hiring of Burmese migrant workers claim that Burmese migrant workers take the jobs that the local Thai labors are not willing to do. Perhaps due to the historical factor that Thais and Burmese engaged in some bitter wars, Thais commonly hold a discriminative view of Burmese. Thai people regard the Burmese migrant workers as garbage because they are taking the filthy jobs that the Thai people will not do (Hunter). Given the sanction imposed by the international community on the Burmese junta government, most of the Burmese people live in extreme poverty. Cruel political and religious suppression is another factor that forces them to leave their homes for job opportunities in the neighboring Thailand. As a result, they are willing to take any jobs and accept a really low wage. Humanitarian reason, help those Burmese. <br />Although critics claim that the Burmese migrant workers are taking jobs that local Thai will not do, in actuality they are competing with Thai people. A lot of people from Thai working class call for the government to stop the Burmese migrant workers from working in Thailand because they claim that the Burmese migrant workers are competing with them for jobs, leading to a drop in wages. On the other hand, some NGOs that work on human rights and social relief insist that the Thai government should help the Burmese migrant workers by allowing them to legally work in Thailand. They claim that the Burmese migrant workers actually filled the vacancy of those jobs that Thai people are not willing to do. <br />Supporters of allowing the Burmese migrant workers to work in Thailand state that the Burmese workers are paid more than they would in Burma, which can relieve them from poverty. An interview from Bangkok Post dated November 26, 2009 interviewed a Burmese migrant worker in Thailand, she said that “Before I came here I worked as a school teacher in Tavoy, but the pay was not enough to feed the entire family” (quoted in Min) Furthermore a lot of workers seemed to be satisfied with the wages they are getting right now, saying that they were better off than being in Myanmar since the four decades of military rule in Burma have lead their economy to a mess (Cropley). Labour in Burma is cheaper than in Thailand, and the Burmese workers are getting paid a lot more than they would in Burma. (Duangja) <br />It is true that the Burmese migrant workers are getting paid more than they would in Burma; however, the Burmese migrant workers are still underpaid in Thailand according to the minimum wage law in Thailand. Typically Burmese migrant workers work more than they should, and get paid half the legal minimum wage. (Cropley) Burmese migrant workers in Mae Sot are working day and night, week after week, and the wages they get are far below the legal minimum wage. (Cropley)<br />In conclusion, the Thai government should not allow the Burmese migrant workers to work in Thailand even though they contributed greatly to Thailand’s economy. The Thai government should ban the Burmese immigrant workers from working in Thailand because the Burmese migrant workers who work in Thailand have poor working conditions, they are taking jobs from local Thai people, and they are underpaid. More NGOs should be involved in helping to solve this problem, so the Burmese workers can get jobs in Burma and have a stable life. Also, the government should also have organizations to strictly punish those companies who use illegal Burmese immigrant workers.<br />Work Cited<br />Cropley, Ed. "In a Thai border town, Burmese workers toil in penury." The New York Times. Web. 26 Nov. 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/04/business/worldbusiness/04iht-sweat.1.5985289.html>.<br />Duangja, Kamol. "Zone of Opportunity." Bangkok Post 11 Apr. 2004. Print.<br />Fry, Erika. "Migrant health care a critical issue." Bangkok Post 20 Sept. 2009. Web. 25 Nov. 2009. <http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/investigation/24207/migrant-health-care-a-critical-issue>.<br />Hunter, Elizabeth Berton. "Thailand: Abuses and exploitation of migrant workers exposed." Amnesty International Canada || Home. Web. 29 Nov. 2009. <http://www.amnesty.ca/resource_centre/news/view.php?load=arcview&article=2527&c=Resource+Centre+News>.<br />Markar, Marwaan Macan. "THAILAND: Suffocation of 54 Burmese Workers - No Surprise." IPS Inter Press Service. Web. 26 Nov. 2009. <http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=41955>.<br />Min, Korn. "MIGRANTS WORKING AGAINST THE ODDS." Bangkok Post. Web. 26 Nov. 2009. <http://www.statelessperson.com/www/?q=comment/reply/606>.<br />"Thailand : Uses and exploitation of migrant worker exposed." Thai News Press [Bangkok] 13 June 2005. Print.<br />

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