On 11 July, FTA sent a letter addressed to the Thai Embassy in Brussels to increase their partnership in sustainability and call for an out-of-court settlement of the “Thammakaset case”. Thailand is an important sourcing market for agricultural products. The country has taken concrete measures in recent months to improve social conditions in supply chains.
The case started in June 2016, when the Thammakaset poultry farm initiated a defamation lawsuit against 14 migrant workers who were previously employed at the farm, the Migrant Workers Rights Network (MWRN) and human right activist, Andy Hall.
In the letter, FTA touches on several aspects:
- Firstly, it emphasises the importance of respecting freedom of expression as a fundamental right; and
- Secondly, it encourages all parties involved in the case to explore all possible measures to resolve differences through peaceful and constructive dialogue.
Building closer dialogue with Thai officials, FTA will continue to closely monitor the ongoing case and build on cooperation with all involved parties.
With a long-standing dialogue with the Thai Government, FTA has an active presence in the country through its sustainability programme for improved working conditions, the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI).
As a part of the BSCI Food Working Group, FTA has an ad hoc Task Force made up of 17 large European supermarket chains to specifically address migrant worker issues in the Thai food industry since 2013. Last year, FTA held a conference in Bangkok gathering international buyers, local industry leaders and suppliers, EU and Thai government representatives, and other key stakeholders to discuss how to improve labour rights and working conditions in the food supply chain. Most recently, a BSCI Module on Responsible Recruitment will be launched, offering a set of guidelines on responsible recruitment practices and training material.