THAI union opposes new hire contract

Thai Airways aircraft remain grounded at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Thai Airways aircraft remain grounded at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

The Thai Airways International (THAI) union is trying to put a brake on management moves to sack employees who refuse to sign new employment contracts.

A source said the airline’s workers union has petitioned the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare seeking to stop the airline from making 508 employees redundant.

The union said the redundancy move was aimed at “hard-line” employees, many of whom are either members or executives of the union.

The staff refused to sign a new contract with the company, saying it imposes unfair working conditions and welfare.

The contract was agreed by the majority of employees who have decided to carry on working with the financially-ailing airline whose debt restructuring plan was accepted by creditors last week.

The union wants THAI to stop the process of asking staff to sign the contract. THAI, meanwhile, said it must downsize to survive the financial crunch which has been aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airline was obliged to revamp its organisation, from manpower to investments, and implement cost-cutting measures to stay competitive.

It must set aside enough cash flow to pay creditors under the debt rehabilitation plan, it said. One cost-saving step was to keep the workforce lean by keeping staff and workloads in balance.

The company introduced an early retirement scheme to which about 6,700 employees subscribed. Altogether 10,990 employees are still with the company though they are subject to the new contract.

However, 508 workers choose not to join the early retirement scheme and also oppose the contract.

They are the ones who faced redundancy, said the source, and could lose their jobs as early as May 31.

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