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Bkk Post-Tak factories want to hire

Subject: Bkk Post-Tak factories want to hire Burmese

Bangkok Post May 26, 1999.
Tak factories want to hire Burmese
Province's economy said to be at stake

Supamart Kasem

The provincial industrial council is seeking government permission for
continued employment of Burmese workers in Tak.

The council's move follows last week's arrest of more than 6,000 illegal
Burmese workers from six garment factories located in the province's border
districts of Mae Sot, Mae Ramat, Tha Song Yang and Phop Phra.

Authorities have been rounding up alien workers for repatriation since the
government reprieve for their employment expired on August 4 this year.

Chairman Suchart Visuwan said yesterday that members of the council would
meet the interior minister, the labour minister and the House economic
affairs committee chairman tomorrow to ask the government to relax its ban
on the employment of alien workers.

Mr Suchart said the arrests of Burmese workers had affected the economy of
this northern province since the factories raided last week were making
products for export.

"Tak has more than 100 factories. And 70 percent of these plants are garment
factories which exported products worth more than 6.7 billion baht last
year. If all these factories have to be closed down due to labour shortages,
it will damage the province's economy and deter investments in the border
areas of Tak," said the industrial council chairman.

According to Mr Suchart, about 20 Taiwanese businessmen who planned to
invest at least two billion baht in garment factories in Mae Sot had already
cancelled an inspection trip scheduled for last Saturday.

Amnart Nanthaharn, the council secretary-general, said the council would
seek permission to employ Burmese in four border districts of Tak on
condition at least 20 percent of the workforce of any workplace be Thais.

Meanwhile Pol Col Bancha Pluengprasit, chief of the province's immigration
police, said police would continue to round up illegal alien workers.