Thailand Seafood Processing Labour Update : September 5, 2017
According to frozen seafood suppliers, a shortage of labour in Thailand is causing severe problems in the seafood industry as well as other industries. Currently the Thai government is increasing immigration controls for foreign labour and implementing new laws and procedures, in part to control labour violations of the past and this is adding to the labour shortage.
Due to this labor shortage, factories and frozen seafood suppliers are having to avoid producing any shrimp or other products that particularly require more labour and thus will slow down their production lines. Shrimp rings, small shrimp and certain value added items tend to require more labour and increase production costs. For example, production costs on peeled 100/200 pcs/lb sizes are nearly $1 per Kg higher than 51/60.
Frozen seafood exporters in the Thai seafood industry have long been very dependent on foreign labour. Thai workers often prefer to work in industries other than seafood processing. Long hours standing in a processing line coupled with strict sanitary dress requirements (hairnets, masks, coats, gloves and boots) discourage many Thai workers.
Even with higher pay offers, in some cases 50% higher than minimum wage plus other incentives, Thai factories and seafood exporters are currently having great difficulty hiring workers.