News & Statements

Solidarity statement to stand with the SRUT leaders in relation to recent court ruling


In relation to ITF/ITUC press release/statement ( issued on 21/22 Oct. regarding sentencing to imprisonment of 13 SRUT leaders, KPTU, KRWU and KRMUC sent a solidarity statement on 28 Oct.
Below is the full statement.

[Solidarity statement]

We condemn the Thailand Judiciary for sentencing to imprisonment to the SRUT leaders&rsquo for legitimate activity.

- Thai government and the court should withdraw all charges and punishment against leaders.
- The State Railway of Thailand should make full compensation for lost wages and benefits immediately and stop retaliatory action.

On 21 October 2020, Thai court sentenced to imprisonment of 3 years to 13 leaders of the SRUT who carried out &lsquoa national rail safety campaign&rsquo after a fatal train derailment occurred in 2009. Through the campaign, the SRUT denied to operate train pointing out the issue of the poor maintenance and repair of the locomotive.

It is a clear attack on the legitimate work and freedom of association to ensure safety for both fellow workers and citizens.

The Thai National Human Rights Commission (Thai NHRC) already concluded that the derailment was primarily caused by the poor condition of the locomotive in December 2010, and the ILO concluded the dismissal of the leaders for carrying out legitimate activity is a violation of freedom of association and trade rights in January 2016.

Nevertheless, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) authority mobilised the National Anti-Corruption Commission to retaliate by pressing charges against leaders for unreasonable ground of that the national rail safety campaign exposed the working conditions of the Thai Railway system.

Although the 13 leaders who were dismissed after the campaign were reinstated in 2014, 7 among them still have not received compensate lost wages and benefits. Still, the monthly salaries of 7 leaders have been deducted to pay for damages of Baht 24 million to SRT authority since November 2018 based on the decision of the Supreme Labour Court.

We, railway and metro workers in Korea, who have experiences in struggles and strikes for reinforcement of the rail publicness and safe railways, deeply empathise with pains and suffering of railway workers in Thailand who received unjust court rulings, unfair dismissals and compensation for damages.

In particular, we denounce the SRT authority that it forged the national rail safety campaign, which was recognized a legitimate activity by the Thai NHRC and the ILO, in order to press charges against leaders as if the leaders disclosed the railway confidential information. Such behaviour added more pain to those leaders who have paid for compensation for damage without receiving full compensation of lost wages and benefits.

Conveying solidarity and support for 13 SRUT leaders and families, we, railway and metro workers in Korea, demand the government of Thailand and State Railway of Thailand authorities to all charges against leaders immediately, stop deduction, withdraw payment order for compensation for damage, and make full compensation of lost wages and benefits.

In solidarity,

Junsik Choi
Korean Public Services and Transport Workers&rsquo Union

Sangsu Jo
Korean Railway Workers&rsquo Union
Korean Rail & Metro Unions&rsquo Council