Prayut urges salary cuts for executives
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Prayut urges salary cuts for executives

A passenger waits for his flight aboard Thai Airways International, the bad example used by the prime minister at Tuesday's cabinet meeting as an example where executives are paid high salaries
A passenger waits for his flight aboard Thai Airways International, the bad example used by the prime minister at Tuesday's cabinet meeting as an example where executives are paid high salaries "for doing nothing". (Bloomberg photo)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha wants state enterprises to consider cutting executives' salaries as a means of reducing losses, particularly at Thai Airways International.

Gen Prayut said Wednesday state enterprises were ineffective and plagued with high debt, adding it is a national problem that needs to be tackled. 

"I will overhaul them. Each organisation hires a large number of people, but when they held early retirement incentive programmes, only low-level officers exited, not high-level executives," Gen Prayut said.

He was speaking at a meeting of the so-called "five rivers of power" -- the National Council for Peace and Order, the cabinet, the National Legislative Assembly, the Constitution Drafting Committee and the National Reform Steering Assembly.

According to Gen Prayut, some state enterprise executives earn up to 200,000 baht per month, but have no jobs to do. Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the premier also raised the issue with the cabinet Wednesday. 

Gen Prayut said several state enterprises have high income, but are facing problems, among them THAI Airways, according to the spokesman. 

"THAI has tried to improve several aspects of its operations, but is still unable to reverse its losses," Gen Prayut said.

The prime minister felt the national airline focused too much on operations, ignoring problems at the executive level. 

"Do not focus on cutting expenses on large numbers of operational staff, as their salary bases are not high," Maj Gen Sansern quoted the premier as saying.

"Why don't we look at the executives who have 200,000 to 300,000-baht salaries? Do they do much work each month?" THAI is only one example of a state enterprise that could cut its losses, the spokesman said. 

Meanwhile, THAI president Charamporn Jotikasthira said Wednesday he did not feel under pressure from Gen Prayut's comments and the airline's plans are already in line with the premier's suggestions.

According to Mr Charamporn, Gen Prayut is urging THAI to make sure executives receiving high salaries work more effectively.

He would give some thought to properly allocating work among executives, he said.  "We may not focus only on the executives, but on employees at all levels, to comply with the strategic plan," said Mr Charamporn. 

Responding to criticism that THAI hired foreign advisers at a steep cost, he said THAI's competitors are world-class airlines and the employment of foreign marketing experts is crucial to boost operations. He added his salary was "not exorbitant".

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