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Union alerts EU to ban on labour me
- Subject: Union alerts EU to ban on labour me
- From: suriya@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 07:50:00
Subject: Union alerts EU to ban on labour meet
May 27, 1999
TRADE UNION CONFERENCE
Union alerts EU to ban on labour meet
Block could backfire on Supachai's campaign, it says
An international trade union body has drawn the attention of the European
to the government's failure to respect labour rights and questioned Deputy
Prime Minister Supachai Panichpakdi's suitability to lead the World Trade
The concerns conveyed by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
(ICFTU), followed the government's last-minute decision to ban an
conference on labour rights in Burma, scheduled for Bangkok earlier this week.
"The decision by the Thai government to ban a conference on democracy places
doubts on the ability of Thailand to be entrusted with such an important
position," said Takashi Izumi, general-secretary of the ICFTU's Asian and
Pacific Regional Organisation, based in Singapore.
"The ICFTU has expressed these doubts to the European Community," he said in a
The ICFTU in December raised concerns about Mr Supachai's bid for the WTO
director-generalship because of Thailand's failure to amend the State
Enterprise Labour Relations Act and restore the rights of state enterprise
workers taken from them in 1991 by the the ruling military junta, Mr Izumi
said. The Brussels-based ICFTU, which groups national trade unions from 143
countries, is involved in world-wide labour rights activities.
It successfully lobbied the EU to withhold trade privileges from Burma in 1997
because of the Rangoon regime's use of forced labour.
Despite the ICFTU move, Foreign Ministry economic affairs chief Kobsak
yesterday remained confident that Mr Supachai's supporters within the
EU would remain solidly behind him.
The ICFTU rejected the government's argument that the labour conference was
banned because it would have been wrong for the head of the
government-in-exile, Sein Win, to attend without the balancing presence of
representatives of the Rangoon junta.
An ICFTU official said the Thai embassy in Washington had decided earlier not
to issue a visa to Mr Sein Win, who had twice sought permission to attend the
The Thai position was "ludicrous and hypocritical" and its decision not to
issue the visa to Mr Sein Win was the result of pressure from the Burmese
government, the State Peace and Development Council, she said.
Mr Izumi said the ICFTU would not invite a Burmese government
attend its next meeting, to be held in another country, because it did not
recognise the regime as a legitimate government.
© Copyright The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 1999
Last Modified: Thu, May 27, 1999
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