On 30 August – 5 September 2022, a delegation from Department of Medical Services, Ministry of Public Health, Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour, and Nopparatrajathanee Hospital which specialises in occupational health, together with the Royal Thai Embassy’s representatives visited Thai berry pickers in Sweden in Bispgarden and Soderhamn.
The main purpose of the visit is to study how the Thai authorities can strengthen health services provided by Sweden to Thai berry pickers legally employed under a collective agreement each year.
During 1-2 September 2022, the delegation discussed with the Mayor and Administration of Ragunda Kommun and the Ombudsman and Trade Union Representative in Soderhamn. They also visited Thai berry pickers and service staff employed by Baruppkopet AB in Bispgarden and Soderhamn. Baruppkopet is the biggest company hiring around 1,000 berry pickers from Thailand (out of about 7,000 this year).
On 5 September 2022, Ambassador Kanchana Patarachoke hosted a meeting with the delegation led by Dr. Manus Potaporn, Deputy Director General of Department of Medical Services. The delegation and the Embassy agreed that there are ways to strengthen health services for Thai berry pickers, such as development of an application for telemedicine with Thai doctors, provision of vaccines for tetanus, influenza and TBE before leaving Thailand, and inclusion of important information in pre-departure orientation by Department of Employment, such as how to spot poisonous mushrooms and how to protect themselves from diseases from dead rabbits, for instance.
Around 4,000-7,000 Thai berry pickers come to work in Sweden from July to October every year. They are legally employed through the process of Department of Employment and are protected under a collective agreement. These berry pickers are important to both Thai and Swedish economies.
The Embassy will continue to work with our Thai and Swedish counterparts to assist and protect these berry pickers.
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