Help for salaried workers sought

Help for salaried workers sought

Tourists are seen at Ratchaprasong intersection on Monday. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Tourists are seen at Ratchaprasong intersection on Monday. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

The Thai Chamber of Commerce is calling on the government to come up with urgent measures to help “salarymen” after many companies initiated 15-day leave programmes without pay.

The group is also asking for cooperation from its members that are struggling from the adverse impact of the coronavirus outbreak to retain their more than 10 million employees as long as possible.

A source from the chamber who requested anonymity said the government should come up with clear measures to take care of salaried workers during the outbreak to prevent any impact on their income.

“The Labour Protection Act largely covers daily wage workers, and the law stipulates that in the event employers want to put their workers on leave for 15 days, they have to seek prior permission from the Labour Protection and Welfare Department and continue paying 75% of their wages during the leave period,” the source said.

“But there is no such law for salaried workers, and more importantly many employers have already ordered their salaried workers to stop working for 10-15 days without pay.”

Visit Limlurcha, president of the Thai Food Processors Association, said the government should also rev up efforts to provide measures to help operators or businesses without sufficient working capital through low-interest or no-interest loans so they are capable of continuing to employ workers.

He also called on the government to speed up developing and upgrading delivery and logistic services, particularly for hard-hit restaurants and food providers as people opt to stay home to reduce their chances of catching the coronavirus.

“We can reiterate that the country has enough food for both domestic consumption and export,” Mr Visit said. “There is no need for hoarding. Last year we had sufficient food to accommodate up to 40 million foreign tourists, so with much fewer tourists projected this year we can manufacture more than enough.”

Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the chamber, urged the government to turn its attention to social issues, pointing out that the poor economic conditions could result in escalating crime and theft.

In a related development, Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said Thailand is estimated to lose about 240 billion baht a month or 8 billion baht per day if the government decides to lock down the country to curb the spread of the virus.

The losses will stem largely from cross-border tourists and border trade, he said.

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