Government Asked to Help Struggling Casual Workers

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Yesterday, the Federation of Informal Workers (Thailand) asked the Labour Ministry to provide more help to casual workers affected by the COVID-19 situation.

The group’s petition asked for the government to relieve the hardship suffered by freelancers, street sellers, motorcycle taxi riders and those working from home.

Its demands included interest-free loans of 50,000-300,000 baht to hard-up individuals and 100,000-1 million baht to registered career groups.

The federation also asked the ministry to return spaces used by street sellers in outdoor shopping areas, generate jobs that help the elderly or bedridden people, carry out repairs to the homes of vulnerable people and create part-time jobs offering at least 10 days’ employment a month.

Other requests included 30% of job vacancies being reserved for small and medium enterprises in public work projects and for casual workers’ employment conditions to be improved.

This would involve, for example, launching online selling platforms, allowing freelancers’ businesses to also enjoy economic stimulus measures and for the government to provide skills training free of charge.

Being entitled to the same rights as contractually employed staff was also needed, according to the petition.

Labour Minister Suchat Chomklin, who went out to meet the petitioners, told federation representatives that some of their requests were already being acted upon.

However, since there were so few informal workers registered in the system, it was difficult for his officials to know how to help.

He said it would therefore be useful for casual workers to register so they could benefit when the government launched new relief measures.

Meanwhile, new proposals related to casual workers are being prepared for consideration by the House and by the Office of the Council of State.

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