The reputation of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has taken a serious beating as a result of a power struggle between two factions fighting for the chairmanship following conflict over the 300-baht minimum wage, which takes effect nationwide as of Jan 1.
The incident on Monday at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, which saw 182 FTI committee members holding a meeting on the staircase outside a meeting room after incumbent chairman Payungsak Chartsutthipol ordered the meeting postponed indefinitely over the weekend, was indeed an embarrassment. Some 139 members of the rebel group voted to unseat Mr Payungsak, who they accuse of failing to convince the government to delay the enforcement of the new wage rate until 2015. Concurrently, the group also chose former FTI chairman Santi Vilassakdanont to replace Mr Payungsak. The latter, however, refused to step aside, creating a ridiculous and messy situation for the powerful private sector organisation.
How this disgraceful saga will unfold is anybody's guess. A compromise solution seems to be out of the question now or in the foreseeable future as both sides remain adamant on their standpoints. But it should be borne in mind that the longer the conflict drags on, the greater the damage will be to the FTI and its 7,500 corporate members.
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