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Pattaya Daily News

21 October 2009 :: 06:10:02 am 31650

Transport Minister: Work Stoppage of Train Workers to End Soon

HUA HIN, Oct 20 (TNA) Work stoppage of train workers is expected to end in the next few days under negotiation, said the Transport Minister Sophon Zarum.
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Speaking before this week’s cabinet meeting at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan, about 200 kilometres southwest of Bangkok, Mr Sophon said he would report on the technical inspection of locomotives in the southern province of Surat Thani. Agreement reached by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) board to solve the problem will be considered by the cabinet Tuesday.

The losses caused by the work stoppage have not yet been fully assessed, he said.

While the intentions of the workers will be taken into consideration before deciding discipline, the government’s compromise must fall within regulations.

All sides must respect the rules, Mr Sophon emphasised. It will take about three weeks and he will be able to disclose the facts of the overall information regarding the SRT, including personnel, assets and its basic structure.

Satit Wonghnongtaey, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, said the cabinet will resolve on both short-term and long-term solutions. Stand in drivers will be assigned to replace drivers who take leave, he said. Workers who commit disciplinary misconduct will be punished.

In the long term, a complete overhaul is necessary to improve the SRT as train services are very important for low income earners.

SRT labour union members abruptly halted services mainly on South-bound trains and a few heading for the Northeast beginning Friday, citing the need to repair the trains. Their action came after a derailment in the resort town of Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan province on October 5 which left seven passengers dead and injured nearly 90 others.

Insisting that the Ministry of Transport and SRT management must help solve the railway’s locomotive engine problems to ensure the safety of passengers, SRT labour union chairman said between 80-90 per cent out of the total 196 locomotives owned by SRT are unfit to provide services to passengers. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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