Stop Thai company using law to silence workers’ rights advocate
I’ve known Andy Hall, off and on, for over ten years. He’s a dedicated, committed activist putting his considerable skills to use on behalf of workers in some of the least propitious environments, especially Southern and South-Eastern Asia.
Next month, he’s due in court in Thailand charged with criminal defamation of the Natural Fruit Company, whose disgusting exploitation of Burmese refugee labour he exposed in a report for a Finnish labour rights NGO, Finnwatch.
Please take a moment to join the global e-action – promoted by LabourStart and global unions BWI and UNI – to persuade the company to drop the case, and instead, address the abuses his report reveals. And reflect, too, on the way so many corporations use their wealth and legal powers to try to stifle dissent rather than clean up their act, as Human Rights Watch have pointed out.
Andy Hall is a British citizen whose research showed that the Natural Fruit Company abused the rights of migrant Burmese workers – the majority of its workers – including child labour. Despite being offered every opportunity to meet the researchers while the study was underway, and respond to the report’s findings, the company’s only response has been to sue Andy for millions of pounds, in a clear attempt to punish him and deter others. The company’s chairman is the elder brother of the Secretary General of Thailand’s opposition Liberal Party (the sister organisation of Britain’s Liberal Democrats).
Unions in Thailand and around the world have sprung to Andy’s defence, including the State Enterprise Workers’ Relations Confederation of Thailand (SERC), who have a global reputation as the most advanced section of the Thai trade union movement.