The Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion (FLEP)

FLEP in cooperation with the HomeNet Thailand Association (HNTA), an informal workers organization, which is a membership-based organization (MBO) of home based workers, and academics and labour lawyers have made steady progress in campaigning for the development of policies and laws relating to labour protection and social benefits for groups of informal workers.

The National Health Security Act was enacted in 2002; Homeworkers’ Protection Act in 2010; co-payment of contribution fee of informal workers under Section 40 of the Social Security Act 1990 in 2011 and the Ministerial Regulation on Domestic Workers Protection are enacted in 2012. Meanwhile, HNTA is able to network which another 3 networks of informal workers in Bangkok namely domestic workers, street vendors and motorcycle taxi drivers to established the Federation of Informal Workers (FIT) in 2016.

For home based workers, they consist of 2 types of workers, firstly, homeworkers who sub-contracted to assemble industrial products at homes such as garment, shoes and others. Secondly, own-account workers, they produce handicraft, food, herbal product and etc. Both types are mostly women who try to earn their living by working at home and take response to look after household work and take care of their children and other family members as well. In the past 10 years, the economic situation of home based workers in Thailand is getting down and down due to geographic of global economic supply chain was changing, many of garment and leather ware products moved to Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh. Lots of cheap products also come from Chaina. Many of homeworkers have no job and many products from own account workers can’t sell and compete with Chinese products. During 2013-2016, FLEP and HNTA tried to support their members by providing knowledge on entrepreneurial skill and in 2017, helping them established a social enterprise called “HomeNet Thailand Brand” HomeNet Thailand Brand is a business unit of homebased workers, established to support HNTA members to develop new design and marketable products as well as helping them to develop new market channels.

HomeNet Thailand Brand is running based on Social Solidarity Economy concept and committed to operate under the following framework.

1. An enterprise with good business outcomes, stable and sustainable. Members produce good quality and high standard products with permanent marketing channels.

2. An enterprise which operation based on Fair Trade principle. It’s guaranteed that the members can sell their products at a fair price; likewise, the customers can purchase the products at a reasonable price.

3. An enterprise that offers employment to vulnerable groups in the society, such as female laborers, disabled people, and elderly people, offering them fair compensation for their labor.

4. An enterprise that promote members’ participation and ownership in its organizational structure.

5. An enterprise that increase members’ accessibility to its social welfare scheme and social welfare provided by the government.

6. An enterprise selling products which are benefit for society and the environment. For example, organic products and healthy food, those are environmental friendly.

7. An enterprise with strong organizing mechanism, efficient management and transparency for registering for juristic persons.

The Network of Domestic Workers in Thailand (NDWT) is a membership based organization which was established in 2011. The NDWT is divided into two networks; the Thai Domestic Workers (TDW) network and the Migrant Domestic Workers (MDW) network. As of December 2017, the NDWT had a total of 591 members, 395 Thai Domestic Workers (TDW) and 196 Migrant Domestic Workers (MDW) from Myanmar. There are 588 female and 3 male domestic works. The NDWT has two main functions: (a) to organize domestic workers in Thailand (including TDWs and MDWs) and (b) advocates for increased legal and social protection of domestic workers in Thailand. Under this project, the NDWT will work closely with FLEP to reach out to MDWs, to empower, organize, advocate for, and provide legal and judicial advice MDWs to reach the ends of extending access to justice and health services for MDWs in Thailand. The NDWT has its own constitution and organizational structure. It elects 15 Committee Members (including 12 TDW- and three MDW representatives) during its annual conference. The NDWT board meets regularly every four months. Street vendors and motorcycle taxi drivers were affected by reform society policy of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). However, motorcycle taxi drivers can work in their own area. Meanwhile, many of street vendors can’t do the same because the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) ban and clear off the pavements. They still fight for their rights to sell in their own area again.