Hundreds left jobless as Air Force cancels golf club contract

PHOTO: Chiang Mai CityLife

Hundreds of people were left jobless in Chiang Mai yesterday after Wing 41, a property owned by the Royal Thai Air Force and the location of the Star Dome Golf Club, put up a sign cancelling its contracts with all renters. According to Wing 41, all contracts expired yesterday and as of today Star Dome will no longer be open for business. Wing 41 says it is not liable for any loss of employment of Star Dome staff or any privileges of its members.

The management of Star Dome held a press conference to clarify the situation, with management, staff and media invited, but around 20 army officials were present and told the media they were not allowed into the meeting, as the land belongs to the Air Force. They instructed reporters not to release any news about the matter until they received a letter of permission. Star Dome management then led 300 staff to a spirit house to seek blessings before leaving the property grounds to give media interviews.

Star Dome’s general manager said the club had won the rights to manage the golf course for 30 years, from 2007-2037, investing over 200 million baht in the 9 hole course and driving range, along with all the other facilities and landscaping. After signing the contract, the army contacted management saying 30 years was too long, and the contract would be renegotiated every 3 years, when the rent would increase by 5%.

This April, when it was time to renegotiate, the RTAF increased the rent by 500%, and put in place many restrictions, requiring the company to get official permission to make any changes to the property.

The GM says that with the reduced income due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they asked the RTAF many times for leniency, but have now been told that they must reenter the bidding process against other companies, and that their their previous is contract null and void.

“How are our 300 staff supposed to survive? We are a private company and have no interest in getting into a fight with the government, especially the army, but we are being bullied and need help and understanding. We have rights too.”

SOURCES: Chiang Rai Times | Chiang Mai City Life

Business NewsChiang Mai NewsEconomy News
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