In a joint conference with industry groups, the operators claimed that most of the operators had complied with labour and trafficking laws on a level with US employment standards, the newspaper said.
The call comes as the Thai fishing industry has suffered from the downgrade due largely to allegations that the industry treats poorly its largely migrant workforce – including Myanmar and Cambodian workers. Many migrants are allegedly trafficked and there have been many reported cases of beating of fishing crew and murders. The industry is notoriously difficult to police.
Myanmar migrants have reported they paid money to enter Thailand for a good job, only to find themselves sold onto the boats and made to work for months, typically without pay, according to media investigations.
Mr Somsak Thanomworasin, chair of the Employers’ Confederation of Thai Trade and Industry, said it was unfair for the US to include Thailand in its Tier 3 human-trafficking watch list because most employers did not treat their workers as the US alleged.
He said that employer’s confederation had advised its members to provide their workers with good wages and welfare, adding that over the last 20 years, no member of the confederation had violated laws.
The operators’ organisations proposed the government seal government-to-government labour agreements, take tough action against human traffickers, and import workers from countries other than Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to prevent a labour shortage in the next two decades, according to the report.
The US is a major market for Thai seafood products.