Andy Hall. Photo: Teija Laakso / maailma.net
An early birthday present for Thai labour rights activist Andy Hall
Tomorrow is Andy Hall’s 35th birthday. He’ll be back in court on more trumped-up charges prompted by Thai pineapple manufacturing company Natural Fruit. They want to warn off future Andy Hall’s – and the Thai trade union movement – exposing the sort of abuses of workers’ rights that he did in the 2012 Finnwatch report “Cheap has a high price.” But Natural Fruit have been dealt a sever setback, and Andy has been delivered an early birthday present, because this morning the judge dismissed the first charge against Andy because of irregularities in his interrogation by the police.
This afternoon, I’ll be going to see the senior diplomat at the Thai Embassy in London, and I’ll be joined by Gail Cartmail – Unite Assistant General Secretary and TUC General Council international development spokesperson – and Anna Roberts from the Burma Campaign UK (because most of the migrant workers Andy defends with the Thai union confederation SERC are Burmese). And, most important of all, Andy’s parents Des and Pat Hall, down for the day from the Lincolnshire home where Andy grew up.
We will be handing in a letter to the Thai Prime Minister urging him to stop Natural Fruit and its powerful employer owners from using Thailand’s court system to harass and deter human and trade union rights activists. And we will be joined outside the Embassy by campaigners from a range of organisations like Walkfree, Fairfood and sumofus (going non-virtual for the event, as they’re usually an online corporate accountability movement!) And maybe even a couple of people in giant pineapple suits.
Our protest is being repeated outside the Thai embassies in the Hague, Helsinki (where Finnwatch come from) and Washington DC, making sure our voice is heard and defending Andy and the many trade unionists he works with in Thailand who won’t be silenced as the employers hope.
If you aren’t one of the half a million people world wide who have already signed a petition in support of Andy, you can still do so here.