Sunday, January 20, 2013

THAI strike delays flights

THAI strike delays flights | Bangkok Post: news

The strike began on Friday in protest against the THAI board's decision to pay a 2012 bonus of just one month's salary and to limit salary increases to 4%.
A THAI spokesman said that around 400 ground staff were involved in the strike, resulting in delays of 15-20 minutes for at least 30 flights.
Baggage check-in was slow as only contract staff were available. However, no flights had been cancelled, he said.
THAI labour union president Jaemsri Sukchoterat insisted on Saturday that the ground staff would continue their strike until THAI chairman Ampon Kittiampon complied with their demands. If he did not, she said, he must be dismissed.
The union wants a two-month bonus and a maximum salary increase of 7.5%, noting that the airline was highly profitable in 2012.


The strikers did not want to talk with Mr Ampon but want Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step in to settle the dispute, Mrs Jaemsri said late Saturday afternoon.

Mr Ampon said earlier that the one-month bonus payments as approved would amount to about one billion baht out of the airline's 2012 net profit.
Mrs Jaemsri maintained that the higher bonus and salary increase would cost only 500 million baht, the same amount as in 2010 when THAI earned 7 billion baht in net profit.
"Most THAI employees want the dismissal of Mr Ampon as the board chairman," she said. "They also reject any talks with him as it is now too late. We tried to arrange the talks but were rejected."
She threatened that if Mr Ampon were not dismissed, no flights would be allowed to take off from Suvarnabhumi Airport.
THAI president Sorajak Kasemsuvan said on Friday that net profit for 2012 was expected to exceed its estimate by 700 million baht. He declined to elaborate pending a report to the Stock Exchange of Thailand later this month.
In the first nine months of 2012, THAI earned a net profit of 3.86 billion baht, compared with a net loss of 4.8 billion in the same period in 2100.
Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan on Saturday that he had ordered Mr Sorajak to immediately hold talks with the striking ground staff.
Mr Chatchart warned that if the strike affected passengers and flights at the airport, stringent penalties would be imposed against the strikers.
Mr Ampon said THAI intended to divide its profits into three parts. The first part will be for paying bonuses to staff, estimated at one billion baht.
A second part of the profit will be reserved for dividends to shareholders, and the third will be for business expansion, he added.
Mr Sorajak cautioned on Friday that the airline had to be careful with currency management this year given the rapid appreciation of the baht in recent months. The national carrier earns about 70% of its revenue in foreign currencies, mainly dollars.
He said the healthy results in 2012 reflected a high cabin factor of 76.6%, the highest in five years, helped by a worldwide marketing drive. The airline's revenue target this year was 223 billion baht, representing 11% growth, he added.
Airports of Thailand, meanwhile, said on Saturday said the main cause of flight delays was not the strike, but bad weather overseas.
Passengers planning to travel can get flight updates by calling THAI at 02-356-1111.

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