4,250 Thai Airways employees have been pushed into an early retirement after failing a screening process for remaining employees. The process was a necessary result of the national airlines’ dire financial situation and current debt restructuring program. Remaining staff are being forced into new, leaner contacts.
The 13,554 remaining Thai Airways staff went through the screening program. 9,304 passed, according to the Bangkok Post. The 4,250 staff who failed will be able to receive early retirement benefits or apply for the next round of staff screening. Employees who passed the screening will continue to work for the legacy airline will sign contracts that start on May 1. Many of the ‘cushy’ contractual staff benefits are now missing from the new contracts, and more in line with modern aviation businesses.
People who missed out on the first round of screenings have been informed that they can apply for the second round, starting next Monday. The results are being announced on April 28. Otherwise they have until the end of today to apply for the early retirement benefits. They won’t be replaced as Thai Airways continues to find the best way to reduce its past inflated staff numbers.
The retirement packages are being paid in 4 instalments over 12 months. The first payment will be made in June this year.
Meanwhile union representatives are disputing the terms of the new contracts for Thai Airways staff. The labour union claims the changes have removed, or diluted, many former staff entitlements and welfare benefits. The union called on Thailand’s Department of Labour Protection and Welfare to review the changes and check if they align with the debt-restructuring plan submitted to the Central Bankruptcy Court.
Thai Airways, with its fleet mostly grounded since April last year, is still in the midst of a lengthy bankruptcy proceedings. Most of its creditors are overseas aircraft leasing companies. There’s also tens of thousands of ticket holders who are demanding refunds for flights that were cancelled as a result of the groundings in 2020.
The Thai government cut Thai Airways free after bailing them out of debt every year over the decade before 2020 by selling their controlling stake in the airline.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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