After 15 years of struggle, Somboon Sikhamdokkae and 37 fellow workers were awarded compensation for the respiratory disease byssinosis they contracted through inhaling cotton dust while working at the Bangkok Weaving Factory.
Somboon is Coordinator of the Work and Environment Related Patient's Network of Thailand (WEPT), which has continued supporting the activities of injured workers and union activists for Occupational Health & Safety in Thailand and in other countries.
This victory may encourage other workers and genuine unions to take up the struggle for health & safety: For prevention measures to stop injury & disease, for adequate and timely compensation, and for rehabilitation and return to work to a safe workplace.
But workers having to suffer 15 years of court cases is not justice. And the company that was found guilty has actually failed to pay the compensation awarded by the court. The compensation is already very inadequate given that byssinosis causes not just loss of work capacity and loss of income but much suffering as well. Individual workers have been awarded 1,500 Bath per month (AUS $50 per month).
Send your message of solidarity to Somboon Sikhamdokkae and WEPT requesting that the Thai government force the company to pay, and provide an additional compensation and support to adequate levels.