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Thai Airways seeks to conserve finances by offering unpaid leave, early retirement

Maya Taylor

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Thai Airways seeks to conserve finances by offering unpaid leave, early retirement | Thaiger
PHOTO: KN Aviation

Thailand’s long-suffering national carrier is trying to conserve what cash it has by offering staff early retirement or unpaid leave. Thai Airways says it’s seeking to reduce its workforce in an attempt to stretch its finances to April 2021.

According to a Bangkok Post report, acting president Chansin Treenuchagron says 80% of the airline’s employees have agreed to salary cuts and unpaid leave, adding that their support means the company can survive until the end of the year. However, he points out that, without taking further steps, the airline is unlikely to survive 2021, particularly with the Covid-19 pandemic showing no signs of abating.

The airline has briefed staff on current finances and the progress being made in settling its extensive debts, as well as explaining new policies on furloughing staff and introducing early retirement. It’s understood some workers are prepared to take early retirement provided they are adequately compensated for doing so. Chansin says union officials have been consulted and appear open to the plans.

Employees who want to take early retirement in the next round need to apply between October 15 and 30. Those who are approved will be in line for severance pay of between 2 and 14.33 months, based on Thailand’s employment law, in addition to other benefits from the airline. It’s understood the furlough scheme will take place from November 1 to April 30.

Meanwhile, some union members arrived at the meeting wearing black, in protest at the recent promotion of a number of airline executives, including the spouse of the chairman of the board of directors, at a time when the carrier is struggling for survival.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    A dishonest way of firing staff.

  2. Avatar

    Jason

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    This puts Thai Airways about six months behind Singapore Airlines, who did this about six months ago. Airlines must look to find ways to find the most appropriate ways to reduce costs. Any airline who hasn’t done this,won’t survive. QANTAS also did this months ago as did so many other airlines. Perhaps the slowness of Thai Airways to do this is the reason the airline finds itself in the current predicament.

  3. Avatar

    Jason

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    As an airline, Thai Airways has a great value proposition. People gong to Thailand for a holiday, feel like the holiday has started, the moment they get on the plane. It is not the staff (Aircrew or groundstaff) who have contributed to the downfall of Thai Airways. It is airline mismanagement and government interference that has created the downfall. Thai Airways can be a very successful airline.

  4. Avatar

    TS

    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    “Offering” unpaid leave. Wow! how generous can you get?

  5. Avatar

    Sam

    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    Confiscate Thai airways planes in countries where it owes money Get tough !

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Aviation authority calling for 20,000 vaccine doses for crew, ground staff

Maya Taylor

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Aviation authority calling for 20,000 vaccine doses for crew, ground staff | Thaiger
PHOTO: Christian Junker on Flickr

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand is calling for vaccine doses to protect around 20,000 airline crew and ground staff before the country re-opens to international tourists. The CAAT says it’s vital that those working in the aviation industry are protected and has submitted its request to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

According to Suthipong Kongpool from the CAAT, there are around 20,000 airline employees, including crew and ground staff, who will need to be vaccinated. As 2 doses are required, a total of 40,000 doses are needed to fully protect staff. The Bangkok Post reports that the CAAT will meet on Thursday to review the aviation sector’s readiness for when the country re-opens without international arrivals having to quarantine.

Suthipong says they are seeking enough vaccine doses to protect employees of Thai-registered carriers.

“It’s a confidence-building measure for tourists and those providing the services to them.”

From July, the southern island of Phuket will be the first part of the country to waive quarantine for vaccinated international arrivals, subject to 70% of local residents being vaccinated. The “sandbox” project is a pilot programme that will be expanded to other areas if it proves successful. Between October and the end of the year, 5 other provinces – Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Krabi, Chon Buri, and Chiang Mai – are expected to adopt the programme. Officials hope to be able to re-open the country fully from January 2022.

According to the CAAT, the first foreign visitors expected to return to Phuket will be Chinese tourists, given that country’s success in managing the pandemic. Meanwhile, the CAAT says Thailand will see a 7% increase in air traffic this month compared to last, with a total of 36,150 domestic and international flights.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Labour union angry over changes to Thai Airways staff contracts under rehab plan

Maya Taylor

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Labour union angry over changes to Thai Airways staff contracts under rehab plan | Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

Union representatives are questioning changes made to the employment terms of Thai Airways staff as part of the national carrier’s debt-restructuring plan. The labour union claims the changes have removed or diluted several staff entitlements and welfare benefits, pointing the finger at acting president, Chansin Treenuchagron, who signed the orders.

The union is calling on the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare to review the changes to check if they align with a debt-restructuring plan submitted to the Central Bankruptcy Court. According to a Bangkok Post report, the union believes the signed orders may go against the terms of the rehab plan currently being reviewed by creditors. They include an order related to the company’s new organisational structure, as well as the screening of workers who will continue to be employed by the carrier during and after the rehab process.

Union representatives accuse the airline of changing the terms and conditions of employee contracts, meaning weaker welfare benefits. They are asking the DLPW to confirm if the changes comply with the 1940 Bankruptcy Act, the 1975 Labour Relations Act, and the 1998 Labour Protection Act. The union says that if the changes are found to violate the acts, Chansin should be ordered to cancel the orders and draw up new employment terms that comply with the airline’s rehab plan and with employment law.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Leader of Thai cryptocurrency exchange warns regulators about tight restrictions

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Leader of Thai cryptocurrency exchange warns regulators about tight restrictions | Thaiger
Stock photo by André François McKenzie for Unsplash

The co-founder of Thailand’s largest cryptocurrency exchange has slammed regulators for plans to set requirements that would limit who can trade cryptocurrency. Following a drastic spike in domestic crypto trading, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission, decided to look into tighter restrictions and say traders will be soon required to have experience, be educated in trading or pass an exam.

Too many regulations will push some Thais away, according to 33 year old Atichanan Pulges, co-founder and CFO of Bitkub. He warns that too many restrictions might drive amateur traders to unregulated international platforms in other countries.

Atichanan told Bloomberg that these restrictions will do little to stem the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies in Thailand. The SEC’s restrictions were proposed in response to an unprecedented surge in crypto trading beginning in November 2020. According to the SEC’s own data, crypto-trading in Thailand jumped six fold from 18 billion baht in November to 124 billion baht in February. Bitkub themselves reported a daily turnover of 4.2 billion baht throughout February, a jump of nearly 40% from the previous month.

Thai authorities continue to struggle with the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies, as they strive to balance embracing innovation with protecting investors. The SEC recently walked back potential restrictions which would have limited crypto purchases to those with a minimum income of 1 million baht after public backlash. Instead, they’ve proposed a program to educate potential investors of the risks involved in investing in the notoriously volatile crypto market.

Undeterred by any potential regulations, Bitkub – who claim to host around 90% of crypto trading in Thailand – have announced plans to expand over the coming year, aiming to double their current staff to 500 and introduce their own debit card. The company is also aiming to achieve the coveted ‘unicorn’ status (a private valuation of more than $1 billion) at some point in the near future.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

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