A better standard and quality of life for workers in Thailands shrimp industry

For over eight years, the Thai Frozen Food Association, membership of which includes enterprises involved in seafood processing for export, has played an important role in the implementation of Good Labour Practices (GLP) guidelines through its support and cooperation with the government sector in preparing regulations. The association created its own labour policy for enterprise members to properly implement and oversees the production chain to operate lawfully in line with other government regulations.


Labour is an asset. Happy workers who have a good quality of life give a better performance.

In the area of labour standards, enterprises involved in seafood processing for export operate in strict compliance with labour laws and Thailand’s Labour Standard, as well as other standards required by customers, such as SA 8000, ETI, and GLP. In addition, the plants focus on ethics and fairness in both Thai and migrant workers. They take care of all workers equally in all aspects, including living conditions, wages and welfare.

Migrant workers in general seem satisfied with their quality of life. Whether Thai or migrant, all workers are treated equally. Most factories pay wages above the legal minimum, plus overtime and other fringe benefits such as working uniforms and boots. Transportation, accommodation, meals, and activities to celebrate festivals of Thai and other cultures attached to the migrants’ homelands are also provided for free or subsidised.

Foreign workers are entitled to take home leave for extended periods of time. Some factories provide an interpreter so that workers can communicate easily while all essential documents are drawn up in a language that all parties comprehend. Another important element is the provision of welfare committees comprising both Thai and migrant workers. The committees represent all employees in discussions and negotiations with employers. Complaints boxes are also provided.

The Thai Frozen Food Association, in collaboration between its members and various NGOs, organise activities to promote the quality of life for workers in many areas, including allocation of scholarships to children of Thai and migrant workers, religious and traditional activities, and social events such as to celebrate Mother’s Day, Children’s Day and Labour Day. To provide educational opportunities to children of Burmese migrants, the collaboration hires teachers who can communicate in Burmese to teach them.

It is time for the seafood industry to recognise the importance of labour. Entrepreneurs throughout the chain must operate in compliance with labour laws, rules and ethical standards. This is an effort to enhance consumer confidence towards the quality of fishery products from Thailand and will sustain the Thai fishery industry in the long run. The industry now fully recognises that ethical treatment of workers leads to many benefits -- happy industry chain partners, happy life productive workers, high quality products, and successful and sustainable business.