Limited concern over shortages of labour
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Limited concern over shortages of labour

Most see less than 30% of capacity hit

While the prolonged Covid-19 outbreak has raised fresh concerns over a labour shortage in the industrial sector, most executive members of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) expect less than 30% of production may be affected.

They voiced their concerns in the FTI's latest CEO survey which interviewed 166 executives across 45 industries in July when daily infection rates, including those in factories, increased at an alarming rate.

Up to 45.2% of the respondents said they believed the third wave of Covid-19 should affect less than 30% of production capacity, said Wirat Uanarumit, vice-chairman of FTI.

Some 26.5% said manufacturing would bear no impact while 20.5% said the impact should range between 30% and 50%.

Only 7.8% of the respondents said they expected a severe impact of 50-80%.

However, more than half of the executives (53.6%) were optimistic, believing the employment rate during the outbreak would remain unchanged, according to the findings.

Some 31.3% said employment would drop by 10-20% while 4.8% appeared most worried, saying the rate may fall over 50%.

Only 10.3% of respondents said the employment rate would rise by 10-20%, the pollster said.

The executives suggested a range of solutions to prevent a labour shortage, including a call on the government to allow the entry of vaccinated migrant workers under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between governments.

If the government allows factories to bring in foreign labourers under an MoU, it should prepare effective screening and tracking systems to make sure the arrival of migrant workers will be under control and not worsen the outbreak, said Mr Wirat.

The government has decided to extend its drastic lockdown measures to one more month, covering 29 provinces, an increase from 13 provinces, in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree said the FTI understands the state needs to resort to lockdown period extension and hopes the decision will reduce disease transmission.

"If the government cannot decrease infection rates to less than 5,000 new cases a day within September, the outbreak will severely affect businesses and the economy," he said.

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