For immediate release on 28 December 2022
Trang Social Security Office directing that Myanmar fishing worker
Be awarded 417,847.50 baht from Workmen’s Compensation Fund for work-related injury while working on board fishing vessel
On 24 November 2022, the Trang Social Security Office issued the letter no. Tor Ngor 0031/394138 on result of the review of the application for compensation of fishing workers suffering from work-related injury on board a fishing vessel including the compensation for the loss of organ for 56 months at 6,615 baht/month or 370,440 baht in total plus the compensation for having to stop working and receiving treatment 47,407.50 baht, which has been received. In total, they are awarded 417,847.50 baht.
Background of this case, on 18 November 2022, staff from the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) in its chapter in Samut Sakhon have conducted an educational session to raise the awareness about benefits from the Workmen’s Compensation Fund, the Social Security Fund and labour rights in the community in Kantang District, Trang. They have found one fishing crew member who suffered work-related injury from working in fishing vessel and was not aware of the procedure to seek compensation for such injury.
According to our fact-finding, the Myanmar fishing worker sustained a work-related injury while working on board a fishing vessel in July 2021. The right part of his pant got entangled in the fishing net reel as a result of which his right leg’s bones got totally fractured. He was taken by the captain to the pier of his employer and transferred for treatment at the Trang Provincial Hospital. He was on internal fixation for four months. Due to complications, his wounds on the right leg got inflamed and the legs needed to be amputated from the knee down. After the treatment, the fishing worker was yet received compensation from the Workmen’s Compensation Fund.
After our initial inquiry, our staff have taken the worker to the Trang Social Security Office (SSO) to apply for compensation for work-related injury. We were verbally told that the employer had reported the injury case and the Trang SSO had already paid for the absence from work and transferred the amount of 47,407.50 baht to the worker’s account. But since the worker did not have the bank book and ATM card with himself, he had no idea the SSO’s officers had made such transfer and he did not receive the money.
The same evening, HRDF’s staff have brought the worker to meet the employer to ask for their personal documents including passport, Seaman Book, work permit, pink card, bank book, and ATM card. The worker has thus received every document including the compensation for the absence from work for 47,407.50 baht on 18 November 2022.
On 22 November 2022, HRDF’s staff have brought the worker to the Trang Provincial Hospital’s Urban Community Health Center for the assessment of organ loss. According to the doctor, the worker has lost 28% of his physical ability. Later, the Trang SSO issued the letter no. Tor Ngor 0031/394138 dated 24 November 2022 about the result of the review of the application for compensation of organ loss for 56 months from when the date of the incidence on 24 July 2021 to 23 March 2026 for 6,615 baht/month, or 370,440 baht in total.
On 7 December 2022, Ms. Aye Mar Cho, Coordinator of the Migrant Justice Programme (MJP) in Samut Sakhon has brought the worker to the Trang SSO to collect the organ loss compensation. Since the worker wanted to receive the organ loss compensation from the WCF in a lump sum, the amount had to be deducted by 2% according to the WCF law. Altogether, the worker received 361,399.94 baht as the compensation and the money was already collected on 7 December 2022. Meanwhile, the Industrial Rehabilitation Center Region 5 in Songkhla is preparing for the worker a prosthetic leg.
Acting Sub Lt. Watcharawit Wutthipatchara, lawyer from the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) states that when sustaining a work-related injury, an employee should directly receive the compensation from WCF. It is incumbent on SSO to prepare the payment immediately when notified about an employee suffering from a work-related injury without having to choose between ordering the payment from WCF or instructing the employer to make the payment to the employee, which has traditionally been practiced by SSO in other cases.
According to Section 5 of the Social Security Act B.E. 2537, an “employee” means a person agreeing to work for an employer in return for wages irrespective of designation. Therefore, when an employee got injured, they should be entitled directly to compensation from WCF according to its objectives since it has been established as a fund to offer compensation to an employee who suffers from a work-related injury, sickness or death or disappearance while performing their work for their employer.
In addition, if the worker is a migrant employee, in most cases of the fishing sector, their personal documents are retained by their employers. As a result, they have no convenient access to the documents when they request for them. Such practice could be a violation of the law since the retention of work permit or personal document of a fishing crew member could be an offence against the Royal Ordinance Concerning Management of Employment of Foreign Workers B.E. 2560 and its amendments.
For more information, please contact the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF)