2 May 2023
Insured workers filing case against Minister of Labour, Ministry of Labour and Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Labour For failing to promptly hold election of members of Social Security Committee and repealing rules and regulations which discriminate against migrant workers
Today (2 May 2023, 13.00) at the Administrative Court, Chaengwatthana Rd. Bangkok, Ms. Thanaphon Wichan and six insured workers from Thailand and other countries have filed the case against the Ministry of Labour, as defendant 1, the Minister of Labour, as defendant 2 and the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Labour, as defendant 3 with the Administrative Court. The Court is asked to order the three defendants to hold an election of members of the Social Security Committee that include representatives from the employers and the insured persons (employees) and to repeal the Ministry of Labour’s Regulation concerning the criteria and methods of election of representatives from the employers and the insured persons as members of the Social Security Committee B.E. 2564. The Regulation requires that a person eligible to vote in the election must be a Thai national and a person to be elected as a member of the Social Security Committee must be Thai national.
Background of the case;
- The Government Gazette published on 22 June 2015 the Social Security Act (no. 4), B.E. 2558’s Section 8 which requires the establishment of a committee called the “Social Security Committee” composed of representatives from the state, the employers and the employees, seven from each party, whilst the representatives of the employers and the insured persons must come from election based on genuine participation of both the employers and the insured persons, gender balance and effective participation of people with disabilities and marginalized people. The criteria and methods of election shall be set out in the regulations issued by the Minister.
- Later, the Government Gazette published on 8 July 2021 the Regulation of the Ministry of Labour concerning the criteria and methods of election of representatives from the employers and the insured persons as members of the Social Security Committee B.E. 2564. Part of such provision;
Determines the powers and duties of the Election Committee Until now, it has been nearly two years since the Regulation has come into force, but the three defendants have yet to hold an election of representatives of the employers and the insured persons as members of the Social Security Committee. It indicates that the three defendants intentionally neglect their duties or refrain from executing their duties causing damage to the six plaintiffs. Such practice is also incompatible with the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s principles which support labour promotion through in the tripartite system which aims to allow representatives from the employers, the employees and the government to get involved with the social dialogue to protect the interest of each party. This shall ensure effective labour management and respond to the economic and social need necessary for national development.
By requiring that the eligible voter and the candidate to be elected as a member of the Social Security Committee must only be a Thai national, it is incompatible with the definition of the term “insured person” which means a person who pays contributions which provides entitlement to benefits under the social security law. At present, the Social Security Office has registered 24,386,011 persons, both Thai and foreign workers, as insured persons. Therefore, such qualification of an insured person aforementioned is an attempt to exclude and thereby discriminate against an insured person who is a migrant employee and in breach of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand’s Section 27 and international treaties including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Ms. Jirarat Moonsiri, attorney, Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), said that the filing of the case with the Administrative Court is an exercise of the right to access the judicial mechanism as the last resort. She urges the Administrative Court with its independence and power in a democratic system to review and order the three defendants to promptly hold the election and to repeal rules and regulations which appear to discriminate against insured persons and incompatible with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2560, administrative laws and international human rights laws to set social norms to promote respect of the law and human rights without discrimination.
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Koreeyor Manuchae, Migrant Working Group (MWG), 091 838 6265
Ms. Jirarat Moonsiri, Attorney, Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), 089 273 4711