BTS Skytrain workers demand 50 billion baht debt is settled

Photo via Bangkokbiznews

Over 300 Bangkok BTS Skytrain workers staged a protest outside the Government House today, demanding that the Thai government settles its debt of over 50 billion baht. The workers are threatening to strike if the debt is not repaid or a measure is launched to solve the issue.

The government and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) owe over 50 billion baht to the BTS Group Holdings Public Company which constructed the BTS Green Line in 2019 on the BTS Skytrain network.

The BTS Skytrain reminded the government to pay its debt in April of 2021 and in November of last year with a debt collection video. The company shamed the government by airing the video on every screen inside the BTS trains and stations. However, no official announcement by the government has been made in response.

In fear of losing their jobs, over 300 BTS Skytrain staff protested near Parliament today. The protesting workers held banners with messages to the government saying…

“Who will take responsibility for our wages?”

“Government, please understand us. #DebtMustBePaid”

“Stop bullying BTS”

“BTS needs justice!”

The group’s representative, Sakesak Hoonsa-ard, informed the media that…

“We are here to submit a letter to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to call for the repayment of the 50 billion baht debt. I insisted that we come here by ourselves, as the representatives of BTS workers, not the company. We are worried that the debt will finally affect us in the future. One day the BTS might have to stop operation because the company is unable to pay for the electric system, water, and staff members.”

The group threatened the government with a strike if they do not repay the debt or launch measures to solve the issue within seven days of the protest.

An official from the Office of the Prime Minister, Phumin Plangsombat, received the letter from the protestors.

The BTS Green Line opened in 2017. It comprises 47 stations covering three provinces including Bangkok, Samut Prakarn, and Pathum Thani. Fares start at 17 baht and continue to increase by 3 to 4 baht per station. The fares increased on January 1 from the former fee of 16 to 44 baht to 17 to 47 baht.

BTS Skytrain workers demand 50 billion baht debt is settled | News by Thaiger

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.