The embattled chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has come up with a fresh bid to thwart a move to oust him: ordering members to scrap a meeting scheduled today.
Mr Sommat shows the agenda of today’s meeting, which was called off by Mr Payungsak on Saturday, at a briefing yesterday. APICHIT JINAKUL
Payungsak Chartsutthipol on Saturday submitted a letter to the FTI members, saying that the committee meeting originally scheduled today would be called off due to a concern that severe disagreement would arise.
"Those who are going to hold a meeting might be able to do so as it is within their rights, but we [the FTI] have declared that there will be no meeting [today]," said Mr Payungsak.
The FTI members are due to call a general meeting today during which a proposal to vote Mr Payungsak out of the chairman role will likely be made.
Some FTI members, particularly those from labour-intensive sectors, recently vowed to remove Mr Payungsak as chairman of Thailand's largest private-sector organisation.
They have accused him of "not doing enough" to lobby the government for a delay in the daily minimum wage hike to 300 baht nationwide on Jan 1 next year.
FTI secretary-general Sommat Khunset said Mr Payungsak's move to call off the meeting is against the FTI's regulations because the decision to cancel or postpone a meeting is up to the committee's members.
Moreover, Mr Payungsak cited as a reason in the letter the anti-government rally, which was held on Saturday and ended on the same day.
Mr Sommat said a meeting could still be held if half of the 348 committee members attended, and any subject can be discussed or voted on because the quorum is met.
"The fact that there is a problem should be a good cause for a meeting, so that we know what to do next. Mr Payungsak has neither the authority nor the reasons to call off the meeting," he said.
FTI vice-chairman Thanit Sorat said Mr Payungsak did not take into account the problems faced by SMEs although the FTI was set up to represent and protect the interests of operators of all sizes.
Some 70% of its members are SMEs, but Mr Payungsak does not address the issue of the 300-baht minimum wage, their biggest problem at present, said Mr Thanit.
"Whenever I raise this issue, he
[Mr Payungsak] always says it irritates him and asks me why I have to keep bringing it up," said Mr Thanit.
Earlier, Mr Thanit said his name was removed from the FTI's committee on floods as he wanted to help SMEs.
"They removed me because they wanted to help only large businesses," he claimed.
"The FTI is governed by large businesses. For instance, 14% of the committee members are from SCG [Siam Cement Group]. This explains why the chairman's policies does not take into account [the interests of] SMEs."
Mr Thanit said many academics wanted to help the FTI on the wage hike issue, but the FTI was slow to act.
"A good governance corporation like the FTI needs to be open, honest and free of domination [from large organisations]," he said.
Taweekij Jaturacharoenkhun, FTI deputy president for labour affairs, said Mr Payungsak gained most of his votes from provincial FTI members, who had high hopes that he would help them, especially with the issue of minimum wages.
"We now see that the chairman chose to postpone the meeting because he knows that most committee members do not want him anymore," he said.
About the author
- Writer: Nanchanok Wongsamuth
Position: News Reporter