Unions sign off on text for worker rights at Bangkok airport but management must live up to promises

August 18, 2021

Security workers must stay resolute and management must live up to its promises if basic rights are to be restored at Bangkok Airport said Erin van der Maas, ITF Airports Organising Programme Lead, speaking of recent progress at the Thai airport.

This week, 100 union members voted unanimously to approve their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) text. This will be presented to AVSEC, the company that runs airport security, as well as Airports of Thailand (AOT) which oversees security outsourcing. It will be the basis for a final deal restoring worker rights that were seriously infringed when airport security was outsourced to AVSEC in April last year.

“Following pressure from the unions, AVSEC signed a memorandum of understanding with local unions on 10 August,” said van der Maas. “However, it took five months from when the company verbally agreed to improve conditions before we got a formal document, so we’re not there yet. We need to keep focused and get the CBA signed by AVSEC as soon as possible.”

Workers were forced to sign new contracts with unreasonable conditions when Bangkok airport security was outsourced. These obliged them to work overtime if required and to work long hours without breaks for food, or to go to the toilet. The memorandum stipulates that workers are entitled to a one-hour lunch break and do not have to work more than eight hours a day.

The CBA will be the first for the newly formed AVSEC branch of the Wingspan Workers’ Union and Airport Workers of Thailand (WWU-AWT).

“It’s important that everyone in the Airport Alliance remains united,” said Butch Lamug, the ITF’s Regional Secretary for Asia Pacific. “Know that the ITF and its Airport Organising Programme stand with you now and in the future. The international labour community is keeping a watch on the actions of the airport authorities.”

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