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Phuket lifeguards seek back pay from PPAO

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket lifeguards seek back pay from PPAO | The Thaiger
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PHUKET CITY: Fifty former members of the provincial beach guard gathered at the offices of the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organization (PPAO) yesterday morning to protest over non-payment of two months’ salary.

The guards, led by Kamala Beach head lifeguard Tawee Sariya, were met by PPAO Vice President Chawalit Na Nakorn at about 11:30am.

The guards complained that all 67 members of the former beach guard hired under a PPAO contract with the LP Laikham Company failed to receive the last two months of their 9,500 baht salaries.

The lack of income was making it difficult for them to support their families, they said.

The five-month contract between the PPAO and LP Laikham expired on November 18; Phuket beaches have been left without lifeguards since that time.

The PPAO would like to find a new firm to take over the new contract, which it hopes to have signed by the year’s end. An expansion in the number of lifeguards from 67 to 83 is planned, a PPAO source told the Gazette earlier.

There is also a dispute over safety equipment purchased by LP Laikham, with the former beach guard members saying they were not properly equipped with items such as swim fins and life jackets, as specified in the contract’s terms of reference.

Additional equipment was purchased by the company in the final month of the contract. PPAO inspectors never came to take stock of the equipment until the final month, they claimed.

Mr Chawalit acknowledged the problem and said he would review labor laws to see how the guards could be paid as soon as possible.

The problem was that LP Laikham, which is responsible for paying its staff, had in many aspects failed to fulfill its side of the 10-million-baht contract to provide lifeguards and safety equipment at 22 points on seven beaches: Nai Harn, Kata Noi, Kata, Karon, Patong, Laem Singh, Kamala, Surin Beach, Bangtao, Nai Thon, Nai Yang and Mai Khao.

Managerial issues, not financial ones, were the root of the problem, a PPAO source told the Gazette earlier.

“The problem is the way they manage their team. They should work harder and co-operate in a better and friendlier manner with local groups, such as the jet-ski operators,” the source said.

For the previous report click here.

In the most recent development, all 67 lifeguards will today submit their names and bank account information to the PPAO, which is preparing a court case against LP Laikham for breach of contract.

The Phuket office of the Social Welfare and Labor Ministry will also help in getting the unemployed lifeguards their back pay.

— Gazette reporter

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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Tourism

Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule

The Thaiger

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Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Airways' ATR72, servicing the re-introduced routes

Some domestic routes are being added as local routes continue to expand. This time Bangkok Airways has announced it’s resuming its Samui-Phuket, Phuket-Hat Yai and Phuket-Pattaya/Rayong (U-Tapao) flights.

The first additions to the schedule will be the Phuket-Samui flights resuming this Sunday, October 25, and the Phuket-Pattaya flights start again next Tuesday, October 27. The Phuket-Samui flights will be operating on Sundays and Wednesdays only on the airlines’ ATR72 turbo prop regional planes, same as before.

A casual search on the Bangkok Airways website, for a return flight from Phuket to Samui on November 1, then back to Phuket on November 8 indicates the cheapest fare (promo) is 2,430 baht. Coming back, the cheapest fare we found, again labelled ‘promo’, was 2,630 baht. Bangkok Airways operate as a “full service” airline and don’t compete with the country’s discount airlines. But they operate these three routes exclusively – like it or leave it.

Bangkok Airways say that the flights will be operated “with the highest preventive measures and standards”. Around the country the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand have eased a few of the onboard restrictions, including the start of catering services which were originally banned under the initial flight rules when domestic routes started flying again at the start of July.

The daily direct services between Phuket and Hat Yai are also being operated on the ATR72 aircraft. The flight to Ha Yai leaves Phuket at 8.40am and arrives at Hat Yai at 9:.45am. The return flights leave Hat Yai back to Phuket at 10.25am each day. The route was very popular for the airline before the ‘disruption’ when airlines had their fleets grounded in April.

The service between Phuket and U-Tapao, linking the party city with the party island, will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, again with the ATR72. Phuket to U-Tapao will leave at 12.10pm and then from U-Tapao to Phuket at 4pm on the three days. U-Tapao is about a 50 minute drive from Pattaya and the airport also serves the greater Rayong area.

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