On the occasion of May Day, Thai and migrant workers talked about their lives, problems and needs.

Writer: 
The Nation/ANN

Supasit Cheaukhampeng, 35

I moved from my home in the Northeastern region to work in Samut Sakhon almost five years ago. The first thing I noticed about working so far from home is that everything is expensive in relation to the salary. But I feel happy about the other conditions.

Nokkaew Buddhasorn, 30

Nowadays, everything is getting more expensive. Even though I received a raise, the payment for overtime work has decreased, so right now I do not have any savings. However, working here I have better income than working as a farmer at my hometown in Uthai Thani.

Samreung Phetphom, 58

I have worked hard all my life, but I still earn just Bt330 per day and have a lot of debt. In the next two years, I will retire from my job, so I have begun to worry about my income in the future. I am not sure how the pension from social security will help and I also worry about my health expenses as I get older.

Thonglai Khansorn, 32

I used to be a farmer in Srisaket, but due to the low rice price last year, I have a lot of debt. So I had to come to Samut Sakhon to find work in a factory. I think everything is fine here. I can live and work in these conditions, but my salary is still only Bt9,000 per month, which barely covers my daily expenses.

Wanlapa Namwong, 26

I graduated from university about two years ago and work in the quality certification section of the factory. I think my work is fine and I get a proper salary, but I am still looking for a better job opportunity.

Eyi, 27

I come from Mon state in Myanmar and have worked in Thailand for two years. Thailand is the country of opportunity for us, because we cannot earn a lot of money back in Myanmar, so I would like to ask the Thai government to understand us and let us work here.

Tan Saw Kyu, 39

I and my entire family moved from Mon state to work in Samut Songkram four years ago and are happy with our life here. We have a good employer and receive a decent salary. We just want the government to let us stay and work in Thailand.

Jintana Klongnoi, 54

I am native to Samut Songkram and have worked in the fisheries industry all my life. My request for this May Day is to ask the government to help the fisheries industry and loosen the strict regulations on workers. The strict law has already caused serious labour shortages, which make fishing boats unable to operate and affects my career in a seafood processing plant.

Duangporn Thongnoi, 36

I am happy with my working conditions right now, because I work near my home and everything is fine for me. But as I am also a housewife, the rising cost of living is our main problem. If the government cares about everyday workers’ living conditions and can solve this issue, it would be very good for us.