Labour protection for teachers at private schools

I am writing in response to the letter posted by Justice for Chalkies.

Every person working in Thailand, who receives money for their labour, have the right to labour protection. If you are a Thai or foreigner, a doctor or a street sweeper, employed legally or illegally. You have rights under the Labour Protection Act of 1998 to fair working conditions, working hours, rate of pay, holiday, severance pay and so on.

However this is not true if you are a teacher or principal - foreign or Thai, working as a teacher at a Thai Private school. You are specifically excluded from the Labour protection Act, as from January 2009. And it appears there is no law in place that protects your rights as an employee.

The implication of this is immense.
Effectively it means that a private school can do whatever they like, provided that it does not violate the conditions of a signed contract. For example. If a contract states that the school will deduct xxx baht if you are late a few times, or for leaving your aircon running overnight, they are in their rights to deduct this money - even if it is strictly prohibited under existing Thai Labour Law. Even though it would be unlawful if any employer in the Kingdom deducted money from their employees paycheck to impose a fine, its fine to do so if you are private school.

It also means that they can hire and fire you at will, and do not need to give you a reason to terminate you on the spot. If the contract states that you work say 10 hours a day, or 12, and you have to work 6 days a week, or 7 without a break, and you signed it, you are bound by it.

It also means that you have no right to legal recourse if you are on the receiving end of any unfair labour practice. You would also not have any claim to severance pay. So if you have worked for a school, regardless of whether it is on a rolling, or fixed contract, you will have no right to severance, no matter how long you have worked for them.

This has immense implications on the powers a private school has over its teachers. It implies that they have carte blanche on just about anything, and as a teacher, you have even less rights than the illegal/legal burmese worker that has been hired to clean your classroom.

Effectively it leaves a glaring hole in Thai labour Law, one which would need to be challenged in a Supreme Court.

I am not sure how an amendment like this got passed by the parliament , without anyone working for a Private Thai School not raising the alarm on waiving their most basic right as a worker in the process.

It is utterly demoralizing that this amendment gives free reign to private schools to use and abuse professionals at their will.

It will be interesting to see if, and when, someone wakes up and sets right this appalling oversight which effectively gives an illegal labourer in the Kingdom more rights than a Thai citizen.

No Justice to the Chalkies


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