Thai title: การต่อสู้ของกรรมกรหญิงโรงงานฮาร่า
English title: The Factory Workers of Hara
Director: Jon Ungpakorn
This documentary is about the struggle of Hara workers factory. Hara was a factory producing jeans at low price and selling them at high price. Jeans were advertised as being imported from abroad to justify high selling price but they were produced in Thailand! The owner was a Taiwanese citizen and he had factories in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Workers only got 25 baht a day (minimum imposed by working laws) but the factory deducted rice meals cost (1.5 baht per meal). Most of the 200 workers were coming from various Thai provinces and were women. Even some teens about 14~15 years old were working. The factory offered no social benefits (สวัสดิการ), no water, no medicine box and only one toilet for 200 people. Most of the workers chose to be paid by piece manufactured in order to be able to get 150~200 baht a month thanks to overtime. Salary was often paid late or delayed. A dormitory was provided but it looked like a shack. Fed up by their working conditions, workers entered a strike in October 1975. As negotiations failed, workers were beaten once but continued to occupy the factory. The local police didn't help as they received bribe money from the employer. The workers finally sold some 20 baht shares to the public to be able to relaunch the factory and to sell cheap clothes (60~70 baht instead of 200~400 baht) to the public. It was called the United Labourers Factory (กรรมกรหญิงโรงงานฮาร่า). The “The Factory Workers of Hara” movie is a 55mn documentary about a struggle over control of a garment factory in Nakhon Pathom. The film consists of interviews with workers directly involved with the conflict. Finally women workers at Hara Jeans occupied their factory and ran it as a cooperative until it was destroyed by the police and workers put to jail. The documentary ends up on the legal fighting between the workers and their employer, who refused to hire them back despite agreement with labour department. This was illegal. If they lost, workers should go to jail. If the employer lost, he would have to pay a fine as wealthy people cannot go to jail according to the workers accused to be communists. This documentary, done by cinematographer Jon Ungpakorn, is part of the first 25 films heritage list announced in 2011. This movie was selected on October 4 2011, which is Thai Movies Conservation Day. การต่อสู้ของกรรมกรหญิงโรงงานฮาร่า remains a major political film with a strong leftist view. John Ungpakorn is now a senator and AIDS activist. This movie was shown around factories and encouraged labor workers to stand up and fight against injustice.
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