Thai meat giant claims ethical approach to hiring of migrants

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

More than 6,000 CPF workers have immigrated from Cambodia
More than 6,000 CPF workers have immigrated from Cambodia

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One of Thailand’s largest meat companies, Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), has declared that the migrant staff comprising nearly a fifth of its workforce have been recruited in line with anti-slavery laws.

The business issued a statement from its human resources department to confirm it was committed to meet Thailand’s new migrant labour law, brought in after the country’s chicken industry was rocked last year by modern-day slavery claims.

“CPF has employed migrant workers [in a way] that adheres to new migrant labour laws, so foreign workers can confidently work with the company,​” said Sawang Suksri, CPF’s senior vice-president of human resources.

He added that CPF wanted to ensure its foreign workers felt that they were paid and treated fairly.

Fair treatment

CPF​ now employs 8,800 migrant workers, making up 18% of the company’s workforce. The majority of its migrant labourers come from Cambodia (6,300) and around 2,500 hail from Myanmar, formerly Burma. The migrant workers are employed across CPF’s feed mills, cutting plants and food processing sites.

All migrant staff are entitled to the same pay and company benefits that Thai CPF workers enjoy. This includes medical expenses, insurance and a performance-related pay increase. The migrants are housed in company dormitories and taken to CPF factories by bus with on-site translators recruited to liaise with the migrant labourers.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training recently awarded CPF a certificate that stated the business adheres to the best practices in the protection of migrant labours.

CPF’s statement on its migrant labour principles comes after a new decree came into effect on 17 June. Under the new rule, any employer who hires an undocumented foreign worker faces charges of THB800,000 ($23,500).

Multiple news organisations claim tens of thousands of migrant workers have fled Thailand as a result of the law, but this could not be independently verified.

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