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More charges filed against builder as funerals held for workers in NE

As relatives of workers killed in the condominium collapse in Pathum Thani hosted funerals in Buri Ram and Khon Kaen, Pathum Thani labour protection and welfare office yesterday filed three charges against the project contractor.

Meanwhile, a team of engineers from King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Lat Krabang inspected the scene of the tragedy yesterday, collecting building material for testing. The results, they said, would be released in 3-7 days.

Chamaiporn Sinthiprasit, an official at the Labour Protection and Welfare Department in Pathum Thani, said the office had filed three charges at Klong 5 Police Station against Plook Plang Co Ltd, the project contractor. Two charges - negligence in allowing workers to stay at the site during construction and a lack of supervisors during construction - were made according to the Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Act 2011 and a ministerial regulation for construction work safety. The third charge related to the use of child labourers without notifying the Labour Protection and Welfare Department.

The first two charges are punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to Bt400,000. The third charge carried a fine of up to Bt20,000, she said, adding that they would investigate to see if the builders' subcontractor had violated laws and would act against it if found to have done so.

Chamaiporn said seven Thai and two Cambodian workers who were employed by the subcontractor had asked for the office's help to get the employers to make overdue payments. The office would check how many other workers were having the same kind of problem so the office could provide them help.

Meanwhile, Pathum Thani Labour official Thianrat Nawamarat said that, out of the 11 deaths in the condominium collapse, the relatives of five workers had taken bodies back to Buri Ram's Nang Rong district while the one body was taken to Khon Kaen.

For the Cambodian workers, Thai authorities would call the Cambodian Embassy to accommodate their return if they wished to go back, she said. The wife of Cambodian worker Im Pleu, who was killed in the collapse had said she wanted to go back home because she was grief-stricken.

Pathum Thani Governor Pongsathorn Sajjachonlaphun yesterday presided over the funeral of three Cambodian workers including Im Pleu at Wat Wan Boon in Klong Luang. Relatives were due to be given the ashes of the deceased to take home.

Thianrat said officials were helping affected workers to get overdue payments from employers and would find new jobs for a dozen whose employers were killed or faced legal action over the disaster.

Pathum Thani social security official Kannikar Preuksachat said that only five out of the 25 injured workers remained in hospital and the Social Security Office would ensure entitled workers received proper benefits. As for the deceased, their families would get Bt30,000 in funeral assistance money and their children would be paid 60 per cent of their wages for eight years, she said.

The funerals for five workers were held in Buri Ram. Provincial social security official Rewadi Cheyklin said the Labour Ministry would pay Bt30,000 in funeral assistance to each worker and pay their children Bt4,680 a month for eight years. She said families or workers wishing to sue the builder and contractor could ask for legal help from Thai officials. Most needy were five children who lost both parents in the tragedy.


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