The Danish jewelry company Pandora employs 5,000 employees at its factory in Thailand; making it the biggest in the country of its kind. By placing the factory Thailand, Pandora avoids any labor unions and the 5,000 employees are left without a worker’s representative if they experience unreasonable or deteriorating conditions, reports Danish media, Berlingske.
The management at Pandora is happy with the situation because according to them, Thai unions are difficult to work with.
“My personal opinion is that it would cause more unrest than do any good if a union was to be involved,” says head of operations in Thailand, Thomas Nyborg to Berlingske.
”It is essential that the workers have a say, but if a union is involved it has to take care of whatever interests the workers might have at for example Honda or Kawasaki. That would only create perplexity and not improve things here at the factory,” Nyborg argues.
However, should the workers choose to become organized, he cannot object as being part of a union is a constitutional right in Thailand.
Visiting the factory in Thailand, Danish Berlingske Business met with the committee of cooperation. When asked about the most important issues of 2012 and 2013 the members do not bring up salary but mention the organizing of bus and company transport. They also state that they have no conflicts with the management of Pandora.
At the Danish labor union 3F, international advisor Jesper Nielsen agrees that a union is a bad idea in a country like Thailand.
”It is crucial that the workers have someone to go to other than the management when there are difficult situations. Otherwise you will have a situation where the workers’ fear of being fired will mean that they will keep their opinion to themselves, said the Danish union representative.
Labor unions have tried to gain influence in the Thai jewelry industry, but so far they have not managed to organize the workers at Pandora.
Basic salary at Pandora is 10,000 baht per month, according to Nyborg.