Ministry gives 2-week strike plan deadline

Nine state enterprises that provide public services have been told to submit new plans to deal with possible labour strikes to the Transport Ministry within the next two weeks.The move followed a strike by about 400 Thai Airways International (THAI) ground service staff at Suvarnabhumi airport on Jan 19.

The work stoppage delayed dozens of flights and affected hundreds of passengers.

The protesting airline staff demanded a two-month bonus and a 7.5% pay rise instead of a one-month bonus and a salary hike of 4% offered by the THAI board.

Mr Chadchat said he told the nine state enterprises, which employ unionised labour and provide public services, to work out contingency plans to deal with possible work stoppages in the wake of the labour dispute.

The nine state enterprises are THAI, the Airports of Thailand, the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT), the State Railway of Thailand, the Expressway Authority of Thailand (Exat), the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand, the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Co, the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority and the Transport Company.

Mr Chadchat said the nine agencies must assess their workplace situations thoroughly.

They should be aware of issues that could spark strikes by their staff, he said.

Two of the nine state enterprises - PAT and Exat - have already prepared contingency plans.

The transport minister was particularly concerned about possible strike action by members of the port authority's labour union.

There have been reports the union was preparing to ask for overtime allowances for their members.

He instructed the nine enterprises to coordinate among themselves and other agencies in case their staff members go on strike.

Deputy Transport Minister Prin Suwannathat said the strike by THAI's ground service staff was caused by communication problems between airline executives and the employees.

He told executives of all agencies under the ministry to communicate better with their employees.

About the author

Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook
Position: Reporter