THAI workers eager to save airline

THAI workers eager to save airline

Union wants more active role in rehab

THAI union members submit a petition to the prime minister on Friday via the complaint centre at Government House. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
THAI union members submit a petition to the prime minister on Friday via the complaint centre at Government House. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

Thai Airways International (THAI) workers' union wants to join the state's last-ditch efforts to save the airline from bankruptcy but called for a more active role in the rehabilitation process.

The union, which represents 20,000 employees, stressed the need for it to participate more after learning about multiple restructuring proposals ranging from a reduction of employees to a 50-billion-baht bailout to cure the ailing flag carrier.

A suggestion to split up the 60-year-old company provoked opposition as union president Nares Puengyam yesterday insisted that THAI must remain "a state-enterprise and as one single organisation".

The union yesterday lodged a petition with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who chairs the State Enterprise Policy Commission, which has agreed to a new rehabilitation plan. Gen Prayut previously said this will be THAI's last chance to recover.

"This means we must take part in the rehabilitation," Mr Nares said. "If the company comes to an end this time, we'll end our role, along with those of the THAI board and executives."

THAI, which has experienced years of losses given intensifying competition, underwent its first rehabilitation in 2009. However, it only accrued more debts and losses.

The company tried again in 2015, but the problems lingered. Mr Nares said: "The plan was good, but it was another story in practice."

A plan for the voluntary resignation of 2,000 employees also failed because staff who left were very capable.

If a similar downsizing were to be carried out again, a performance assessment is needed, Mr Nares said.

"We were not allowed to take part in previous processes," he said. "How will the rehabilitation become successful without staff cooperation?"

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