JELI’s Newsletter April 2022

It’s the month of Songkran! April is super hot in Thailand but let’s stay cool and find the latest updates of our work to promote the labor rights at JELI:


Happy Songkran from the JELI team

Dear all workers, you deserve better!

The Women’s month ends, the struggle continue on!

Cleaning staff is a job that is often performed by women and is regarded as insignificant. Because the job does not require any special skills, earning a low wage is considered normal despite the fact that cleaning and other forms of care work are highly essential in our daily lives. If the floor hadn’t been swept, the garbage hadn’t been disposed of, or the toilet hadn’t been flushed, that company would have been too filthy to work.

Growth-driven capitalism and the pandemic have created many new types of jobs, such as platform housekeeping. Your room will be clean with just one click. Platform companies frequently promise “attractive rates” and “independence” in order to attract people to apply for the job (with an application fee), but are these promises true?

Here is an example, a cleaning platform company offers a wage of 300 baht per two hours. When compared to the minimum wage, it may appear to be a good wage. However, when we consider other costs such as transportation, uniforms, transaction fees, cleaning equipment, and accident insurance, the wage may not be so good.

Social Media Posts

April’s Fools Day: gig company’s bad joke

Many platform companies promise “attractive rates,” “partnership,” and “independence” in their job ads, but in reality, they ignore labor welfare, leaving workers to bear the costs and risks of working. Workers are paid per gig with no minimum wage protection under a non-transparent algorithmic allocation system. The companies refer to workers as partners rather than employees, despite the fact that they have complete control and disciplinary authority over workers.

Based on the findings of our research into the working conditions of platform workers, we propose the following recommendations to bridge the gap between reality and expectations:

  • The government must redefine the employment status
  • Develop policies to promote riders’ health and safety
  • Impose platform company’s responsibilities and scope of authority
  • Enact labor laws that are compatible with future work
  • Encourage unionization and the right to collective bargaining

Read our research “New Forms of Delivery Mediated Work for On-demand Food Delivery” by Kriangsak Teerakowitkajorn and Woradul Tularak (2020)

Gig company: expectations vs reality

In our research titled “Centering the Agency of Women Workers in Thailand’s Platform-based Care Economy,” Fah, a platform massage therapist, shares that she often finds a mismatch between job description and actual work. For example, when customers get platform discounts on Thai massage services, some of them ask her to rub oil or herbal balm on their skin too, which in fact only comes with other types of more expensive massages. As Fah personally bore the cost of essential oil and balm, she has been upset by this. Yet, she never complains to the customers or the platform since she does not want to come across as “picky”. She is afraid that it might affect her customer reviews.

Working conditions in the platform economy: written contracts and terms of work

Our research, titled “Centering the Agency of Women Workers in Thailand’s Platform-based Care Economy,” interviewed 298 women workers in total, including 207 platform cleaners and masseuses in Bangkok and 91 traditional cleaners and masseuses who used basic mobile-based massaging apps and traditional intermediaries.

According to the interviews on employment contracts, more than 70% of platform masseuse respondents don’t have or acknowledge contracts, while the remaining 30% of them have contracts but are unsure about the contents or did not have a say in the matter. Worse yet, 90% of platform cleaner respondents don’t have or acknowledge contracts, while the remaining said they signed a contract but didn’t not have a copy of it.


May Day: Female Platform Workers, Identity, and Bargaining Power

Although Thailand has begun to recognize platform workers as a distinct set of workers who play a critical part in the digitally driven economic sector. However, female platform workers, particularly those engaged in care work—who are critical to the reproduction of the workforce in capitalism—continue to be overlooked in terms of working conditions, workplace issues, challenges, and collective bargaining power.

On the occasion of May Day, the Just Economy and Labor Institute (JELI) would like to invite you to our preliminary research finding presentation on “Centering the Agency of Women in Thailand’s Platform-based Care Economy,” which will be followed by a panel discussion titled “Female Platform Workers, Identity, and Bargaining Power” on April 30, 2022 at 13:00-14:30 hrs. LIVE by Prachatai

Job Vacancy

Administrative Coordinator

Just Economy and Labor Institute (JELI) seeks an experienced and strategic Administrative Coordinator to coordinate several projects on gig workers research, advocacy, and empowerment.

JELI is a non-profit organization working to promote social justice and ensure the protection of labor rights in Southeast Asia by empowering workers & working-class communities, and producing strategic research for campaigns and policies aimed at achieving a just economy and society. We support workers and labor organizations by offering educational and capacity-building programs. We also partner with rights-based organizations that share our vision and mission to conduct research and propose policy recommendations aimed at achieving economic and labor justice.

[Open to External Candidates]
  • Position Title : Administrative Coordinator
  • Official Duty Station : Bangkok, Thailand (Temporarily work from home)
  • Classification : General Service Staff
  • Salary : 25,000 – 30,000 THB
  • Estimated Start Date : ASAP
  • Closing Date : 15 May 2022
  • Employee benefits and welfare: Social security (i.e. section 33) contribution; work-related expenses such as internet, telephone and travel expenses are reimbursed.


  1. Coordination and Facilitation
  2. Liaison and monitoring
  3. Other duties related to JELI’s activities as assigned

For more information, please click here