SGRA Project in Thailand (May)

A JILAF delegation visited Bangkok on May 15–23 for the 1st Enlarged Working Committee (EWC) Seminar, which was the first activity of the current fiscal year in the Thai SGRA (Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network) project.

The EWC Seminar is for EWC members, who play the central role in promoting the SGRA project. It is a human resource development seminar aimed at implementing sustained and independent activities to support informal-sector workers in Thailand. Specifically, EWC members study the following content over the year:

(1) Instruction and management know-how for life support seminars (educational seminars aimed at improving the livelihood of informal-sector workers)

(2) Know-how to enable bridging to existing vocational training programs run by the government and employers’ organizations

(3) Know-how concerning the establishment of credit unions and other mutual aid systems

The 1st EWC Seminar was attended by 30 persons from the central EWC in Bangkok and the northern EWC in Chiang Mai. At the beginning of the seminar, special lectures were given by Mr. Supachai, head of the Informal Workers’ Center in the Thai Ministry of Labour’s Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, who spoke about the Thai government’s policy toward informal-sector workers and the importance of the SGRA project, and Mr. Ukrish, executive director of the Employers’ Confederation of Thailand (ECOT), who talked about the efforts of employers to improve the conditions of informal-sector workers (the “Multimate Project” for domestic workers) and ties with JILAF.

A speaker from HomeNet Thailand was invited to the seminar to give an interactive talk on the details of a tool kit compiled jointly with JILAF (techniques for improving household accounts; techniques for concluding written employment contracts; an outline of Article 40 of the Thai Social Security Act and the “Gold Card” universal health insurance scheme; an outline of welfare for elderly and disabled persons; etc.), as well as teaching methods. Furthermore, on the third day of the seminar, Mr. Nattawut, officer from the Credit Union League under the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, gave a talk on the establishment of credit union for informal-sector workers, which was followed by a lively Q&A session covering such issues as the development of sound and sustained management after establishment.

In light of these lectures, the participants again studied the contents of the tool kit and held mock seminars on such topics as employment contracts and social insurance. The group members engaged in training envisioned by the main seminar, mutually pointing out improvements among themselves, and then compiled and presented action plans. The three-day seminar ended with the participants unanimously agreeing, in accordance with the fiscal 2013 activity policy, to hold a follow-up seminar in principle by the end of July.

Schedule

DateContents
05/18Sat1st EWC Seminar Day 1
05/19Sun1st EWC Seminar Day 2
05/20Mon1st EWC Seminar Day 3

Photos of Participants

Special lecture by an official from the Thai Ministry of Labour

Lecture by a speaker from HomeNet Thailand

Group work