IFJ Calls on Prime Minister to Drop Anti-Union Case

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, has written today to Thailand’s Prime Minister The Right Honourable Thaksin Shinnawatra demanding that he intervene to ensure the television network ITV, owned by his family’s company Shin Corp, withdraw the appeal currently underway in the Thailand Supreme Court against 21 workers sacked by ITV for forming a union.

The 21 editorial workers were sacked on 6 February 2001 from Shin Corp owned television network, ITV after legally forming a union within the company.

The ITV workers have had three legal decisions ruling in their favour and for reinstatement since 2001: from the Thai Labour Relations Committee, the International Labour Organisation and the Thai Labour Court. The company, 50 per cent owned by Shinnawatra’s Shin Corp, is now appealing this third decision in Thailand’s Supreme Court.

The IFJ has also today written to the International Labour Organisation urging them to intervene to ensure that the ILO decision in the workers’ favour is implemented.

“The fact that the Prime Minister of Thailand’s family is a major shareholder in a company that has such a blatant disregard for labour rights and the decisions of both domestic and international labour tribunals is shameful,” said IFJ President Christopher Warren in Sydney today.

“Worse still is the fact that this case has dragged on for over two and a half years. Clearly, the Prime Minister and ITV are banking on the idea that the workers will just give up and go away.”

The IFJ has written several times to the Prime Minister of Thailand on this issue and the IFJ’s Executive Committee passed a resolution condemning the appeal in November 2002.

The IFJ is calling on its affiliates to write letters of protest to the Thai Government and to the ILO, increasing the pressure on ITV to drop the appeal.

“Journalists around Asia see this case as extremely important in safeguarding media workers’ rights to act collectively. The IFJ is working with its affiliates to act in a spirit of solidarity with their sacked colleagues from Thailand,” says the IFJ.

The IFJ is also concerned that a Senator who sits on the Justice and Human Rights Committee in the Thai Parliament is representing ITV in the appeal. The IFJ sees this not only as ironic – in that the Senator is effectively acting to wind back human rights – but also as a conflict of interest.

The IFJ has called on the Prime Minister, Shin Corp and ITV to drop the case and reinstate all 21 workers immediately.

For further information, please contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668.

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries.