PHUKET: Laguna Resorts & Hotels Plc has confirmed to the Gazette that as of 2:00am today the “illegal assembly” blockading the roads into its Laguna Phuket resort complex dispersed and that all resort entrance roads are now fully open.
The six Laguna Phuket hotels are rapidly returning to normal operations.
In an official statement, a spokesperson wrote: “During the afternoon of Thursday, February 5, an illegal assembly of approximately 150 staff, representing less than 5% of the resort’s total employment of over 4,000, started blocking the roads. This action resulted from several Laguna Phuket hotel unions not accepting the year-end bonus awarded to employees.
“The award of a two-week bonus by the company reflected the downturn in the tourism industry in Phuket and the rest of Thailand in the second half of 2008 following the closures of the Phuket and Bangkok airports, as well as the global economic downturn.
“Because the unions did not follow grievance procedures prescribed by Labour Court regulations, and committed potentially criminal offenses by blocking public roads and infringing on private property, Laguna management had no choice but to consider the union disruption as an illegal assembly.”
Management of Laguna Phuket reported the violations to the Phuket police and the provincial government, and requested their urgent assistance in re-establishing access to the blockaded roads for Laguna Phuket staff, resort guests, suppliers, Laguna residents and other users of the roads.
That such assistance was provided was immediately evident early this morning to Gazette reporters who surveyed the area and found a remarkable return to order and tranquility.
Gone were the boom boxes of the protesters and the traffic jams created by their barricades. Back were the smiles of staff, residents and guests, many of whom were out jogging. And back on the links were the caddies assisting the usual heavy Sunday morning regiments of golfers.
One local resident told the Gazette that she had been outraged by the “base-and-drum torture” that had been meted out by the protesters non-stop for two days aboard a “hi-tech, James Bond like” sound truck.
An Australian tourist said, “The whole thing came in like a lion two days after we arrived here, and this morning it left like a lamb. Now it looks just as though nothing ever happened. But, you know, it’s a beautiful place and we’ll be back again next year – for sure.”
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