Thai Airways union backs down, supports bankruptcy restructuring

Thai Airways union backs down, supports bankruptcy restructuring

Thai Airways International staff at work at Suvarnabhumi airport during the pandemic. (File photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Thai Airways International staff at work at Suvarnabhumi airport during the pandemic. (File photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The Thai Airways workers union will not oppose the government’s plan to reduce holdings in the airline and petition for restructuring through the bankruptcy court, the union’s president said on Wednesday.

The reversal comes after a cabinet decision on Tuesday to reduce the government’s holding in the national carrier to below 50%, stripping the airline of its state enterprise status.

“We opposed this position before but after reexamination … we have to show creditors that Thai Airways will genuinely follow the restructuring plan including adjustments to the board and staff,” union president Nares Peung-yaem said.

The union had previously said it would protest any plan that would reduce the government’s shareholding to less than 50%.

Under Thai law, state-owned companies are governed by another set of management and labour regulations.

The Ministry of Finance currently holds 51.03% in the airline.

After the government finds buyers for its shares and the airline loses its status as a state enterprise, its union would also be dissolved.

“This is a painful reality … we will hold discussions with the Transport Ministry to ensure workers are taken care of,” Mr Nares said, adding a new union would be formed under labour laws.

Thai Airways International (THAI) shares were up nearly 15% in early afternoon trading, but down 21% year to date.  


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