Teen motorcycle gangs may be terrorising the streets of Bangkok at night with their noisy races, but the problem could ease with a labour ministry plan to convince them to put their skills to use in the automotive sector.
Dozens of impounded motorcycles at a police station in this file photo. The Labour Ministry wants to put teen motorcycle gangsters to work to solve a shortage in the auto industry.
Nakorn Silpa-archa, the labour deputy permanent secretary, the sector is short 200,000 workers.
"Instead of racing around and causing disturbances at night, teen racers are encouraged to enter the workforce as motorcycle technicians," he said.
"It would be better for them to work and earn money by working in the automotive industry rather than just hanging out and brawling at night."
Society needs to provide these teen motorcycle gangs with more opportunities and recognise they have value to their families and the country, said Mr Nakorn.
Automotive workers are paid more than the 300-baht daily minimum, enough to enable them to start their own business, he said.
Mr Nakorn made his comments yesterday at a seminar on developing skills for the automotive industry.
Suparat Sirisuwanangkura, president of the Thai Automotive Industry Association, said vehicle production will reach 2.3 million units this year and 2.5 million next year.
Thailand has 700,000 automotive workers _ 55% with only an elementary school education, 35% graduated from vocational school and 10% with bachelor's degrees.
Mr Suparat said most of the labour shortage is in the auto parts sector, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises that pay fewer benefits than large companies.
He agrees young racers should be encouraged to join the automotive workforce but said cooperation will be required among various agencies to make it happen.
"Drugs are a big source of the problem. If we can get rid of those, then there will more workers [for the automotive industry]," he said.
Thavorn Chalassathien, a deputy secretary-general of the Federation of Thai Industries, said these youths should be encouraged to join the government's One Factory One School scheme in which educational institutes join together with factories for on-the-job training.
Jaroen Laplonluelay, chairman of the minibike manufacturer Power Stallions Co, said most of the young racers are capable of repairing motorcycles.
"This is a good idea. They could take part in something they really like and they get to earn money while doing it," he said.
A motorcycle industry source said while teen motorcycle gangs used to use racing to gain dignity, nowadays they focus on money and swapping women.
"They even have these races where the winner gets the girl," said the source, who asked not to be named.
About the author
- Writer: Nanchanok Wongsamuth
Position: News Reporter