A network of contract nurses will decide whether to go ahead with their planned strike after representatives meet Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today to discuss their demands.
Nurses are angry over the government's failure to recognise them as full-time civil servants.
Thousands of nurses nationwide have threatened to go on strike next month if their grievances are not resolved quickly.
Sirirat Wongbudda, chairwoman of a professional nurses' network, yesterday said the network had resolved not to accept the Public Health Ministry's recent offer to recruit 7,547 contract nurses as full-time public servants each year over the next three years.
The network is demanding the ministry recruit all 17,000 contract nurses as civil servants at the same time.
She said nurses' representatives would raise their demands during today's meeting with the prime minister at Government House.
The network would adopt a "wait-and-see" attitude, and would decide on a course of action based on the outcome of the talks, she said.
Jintana Yunibhand, president of the Nurses' Association of Thailand, said representatives would discuss solutions to their non-civil servant status with the prime minister.
Permanent secretary for public health Narong Sahamethaphat insisted the ministry has not ignored the plight of contract nurses and other temporary staff members.
The ministry employs about 140,000 temporary staff members, 30,188 of whom are working in 21 professional fields. Some 17,000 of these professional contracted employees are nurses.
Officers are trying to solve the problem across the entire workforce at all public hospitals under its supervision, Dr Narong said, and has drawn up short-and long-term measures to achieve this.
He said the ministry would focus on meeting the needs of its staff working in professional fields _ including nurses _ while providing better welfare benefits to the other 100,000 contract workers on the ministry's books.
The ministry was in the process of amending regulations to improve benefits for temporary employees, Dr Narong said.
It plans to recruit temporary staff members on a full-time basis in a staggered, three-year recruitment period, the permanent secretary said.
It would discuss the number of staff to be recruited this week before forwarding its proposal to the cabinet on Dec 18.