Thai Airways union rally against relocation
The Thai Airways International (THAI) workers' union is urging Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to scrap plans to relocate the flag carrier's aircraft maintenance centre at U-Tapao airport in Rayong, saying the move will negatively impact more than 1,500 people employed at the facility.
A formal complaint was submitted by the union's president, Nares Puengyam, with the Prime Minister's Office on Monday.
The complaint was in response to a letter sent by the Eastern Economic Corridor Office (EECO) to THAI, informing the national carrier that it must vacate the 150-rai area where its maintenance hangar is located by the end of this year, in order to make way for the planned expansion of U-Tapao airport, as well as the 290-billion-baht Airport City project.
The move would put the jobs of 356 permanent employees, 80 outsourced staffers, as well as helpers and security guards at risk, the union said.
In all, more than 1,500 employees and their families would be affected if the centre was moved, the union said in the letter.
In its complaint, the union also said employees under threat of relocation might have to find new jobs and/or new schools for their children.
The union also said that THAI stood to lose economic opportunities and bear much higher costs as a result of the relocation.
In the letter, the THAI workers said if the plan were to go ahead, the EECO must provide adequate compensation to all the affected employees and their families.
The national carrier is entitled to full compensation because it leased the land to operate the maintenance centre, and still has 12 years remaining on the contract, the union said.
The union also demanded that the EECO produce a detailed report that provides justification for the move, considering the relocation was ordered to pave the way for the construction of a new maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at U-Tapao airport, which is set to be operational by 2023.