Opinion: Companies behind worker camps infection must show more humanity

Of the 38 currently active clusters in Bangkok that were reported on Wednesday, 13 have been found in construction-worker camps, 11 around markets and shopping centres, eight in crowded communities, five at factories and warehouses and one at care homes.

While society is quick to blame workers and migrants for the outbreaks, my beef is with the owners of these construction worker camps who are treating their Thai and migrant workers like dirt.

It is common knowledge that the condition at these sites are horrid and should have been dealt with a long time ago.

Now, because these companies do not see construction-workers as assets and because their executives want to save money, the crowded and un-sanitized conditions at these workers camps are responsible for thousands of coronavirus cases.

The clusters at Italian-Thai worker’s camp in Lak Si had led to 1,413 cases and a Sino-Thai engineering and construction’s camp in Nonthaburi saw 519 cases reported so far.

Sino-Thai should know better when their former president is the current minister of public health.

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said last week that the outbreak at construction-worker camps are because of the crowded conditions with shared showering and toilet facilities.

They said that they have summoned 134 companies that own construction-worker camps to discuss improvements to the crowded condition, the level of airflow, the cleanliness of shared facilities and the setting up of proper eating and drinking facilities at these sites.

They also said that a construction site could be forced to shut down temporarily if the company fails to improve the conditions of their workers’ camp during the next inspection period. 

However, no one said anything about possible punishment for the companies that have already caused so much anguish.

What is worse is that there is also no talk about enacting regulations which will guarantee that these camps should be at least suitable a person to live.   

What about those that will die because of the companies’ irresponsibility. Will they be compensated? Will the company look after their families?

Last week, India’s Tata Motors said they will pay 50 per cent of the salary to the family of employees who die every month until retirement.

Will we show the same humanity?

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