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Chiang Rai Banana Plantation Caught Withholding Wages for Months

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Chiang Rai’s provincial labour office is conducting an inquiry after more than 40 Myanmar workers at a banana plantation complained they had not received their wages for months.

Forty-five workers rallied at the labour office on Monday seeking help. Many of them haven’t been paid for more than six months.

A worker, who asked not to be named, said the plantation employed about 80 legally registered workers from Myanmar.

The worker said he had been working at the plantation in Phaya Mengrai district fo Chiang Rai for three years. The company had experienced financial problems since June when late wage payments began, he said.

Early this month, the plantation laid off several workers without giving any reason, the worker said.

Migrant Myanmar banana workers rallied at the Provincial labour office in Chiang Rai on Monday seeking help over back wages

He said his employers owed him 27,500 baht in wages and his wife, 12,000 baht. He said he needed the money to pay for food and other necessities. They also said they were forced to buy things on credit and they can’t pay off debts.

The banana plantation company has repeatedly missed wage payment deadlines, said Korawan Jongsathapornpan, a provincial labour and social welfare official. She said an inquiry was underway. Consequently two of the Chiang Rai plantation’s shareholders are Chinese nationals.

The inquiry found the business was struggling financially. One shareholder was in jail while another was sick, causing a liquidity crunch. The office ordered the firm to pay outstanding wages by Jan 15, Thai media reported.

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