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Reactive blogger (~and more~)

Intimate Affairs

I have been following this Triumph union workers news for a while, a hope that some day, some English Newspaper will pick it up. Prachatai actually posted development of the situation in Thai.

Bangkok Post (1 08 08) finally interviewed Kenneth Marshall, Company managing director.

 A protest by Triumph factory workers over the abrupt dismissal of the head of their labour union _ which workers see as an attempt to undermine the union _ spilled over to the company’s headquarters in Bangkok yesterday. Protesters rallied outside the Vanit building on New Phetchaburi road, which houses the head office of Body Fashion Thailand Co, which manufactures underwear and swimwear for Triumph.

 

A rally also continued at the factory in the Bang Phli industrial estate in Samut Prakan for the second day yesterday.

 

They called for the unconditional reinstatement of union leader Jitra Kongdej. The labour union claimed the company was trying to derail the union, which 4,000 of the 5,000 workers have joined, and frame its leader.

 

On July 8 the company dismissed Ms Jitra, claiming she’d damaged the company’s image by wearing a T-shirt bearing a slogan critical of the monarchy while appearing on a TV show.

 

Her T-shirt had the slogan ”Not standing is no crime. One who thinks differently is not a criminal” and she wore it on the NBT show Krong Sathanagarn (Situation Filtering) on April 24 to give moral support to Chotisak Onsoong, who was charged with violating the criminal code by refusing to rise when the royal anthem was played before the screening of a film last September.

 

Promma Boonpan, chairman of the Garment Labour Federation, agreed with the protesters’ view that the company used Ms Jitra’s shirt as an excuse to sack her. Political views are a personal matter, he said, adding that labour activists in one way or another were involved in politics.

 

He said he would ask other labour unions to condemn the company in writing.

 

Company managing director Kenneth Marshall said although Ms Jitra was entitled to freedom of expression, her action had hurt the company’s image. The labour union is not the company’s target, he said.

 

According to a company statement released yesterday, the Labour Court ruled on July 8 that the company had suffered damage to its reputation and its business from the employee’s action. The court said the company had the right to sack the employee to protect itself from further damage. (Emphasis mine.)

It should be noted, according to Prachatai report, that the T-shirt issue had been used to sack union leaders after several ‘comments’ in the Manager website said ‘someone’ will boycott Triumph. Citra said the company linked her t-shirt with lese majeste but to decide if it is actually a lese majeste or not the case should be brought to the Court.

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