Thai Airways Cabin Crew Angry Over Distorted News Reports They Took “Voluntary” 9 Months Leave, Earning 20% ($100/Month) Salary

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There have been several news reports floating around in Thailand suggesting that Thai Airways cabin crew has volunteered to take a nine month leave for a payment of 20% base salary (3000 Baht).

Such media reports have now caused a lot of anger among the cabin crew employees of THAI who just received a new contract and this cut has been anything but voluntary while other employees continue to receive full salaries.

For some reason there has been a push by some figures within or around Thai Airways to run a propaganda campaign making it appear as if THAI is on a cost saving mission and employees would voluntarily reduce their salaries in order to keep the company afloat.

One such article appeared on a local news site called Thansettakij Multimedia today where it was also relayed that the salary haircut and leave was voluntary (among other TG restructuring measures):

‘Thai Airways’ cuts 30 billion cost to the crew over 9 months

… There are also about 1,000 employees who have not been recruited into the new organizational structure. Which employees of this group still have hope that they will be placed into the project Rebuild or will have to be laid off alongside a group of 508 employees who have not previously expressed any intention. Thai Airways still plans to cut staff to around 1.5 thousand by the end of the year 2021.

In addition, at this time, Thai Airways has opened a project for Flight attendants or flight attendants, including flight attendant stewards of 2,700 people, including 300 Pursers, a total of 3,000 volunteers on a nine-month leave, receiving 20% ​​of their salary during the 9-month non-flight period. Another 3 months alternating flight Will receive a normal salary

The 9-month vacation will start from 1 Jun 2021 to 28 Feb 2022, since Thai Airways initially flies with a low frequency to support the flight situation which has not returned to normal. Crew members who voluntarily leave for 9 months are able to seek additional professions during that period.

However, this measure is a continuous action to reduce the cost of employees. After earlier in the reorganization Which Thai Airways has opened the project Together with the sacrifice for the organization or MSP, there were originally a total of 5,000 flight attendants of Thai Airways, but after the reorganization in 2021 this position was lost by more than 2,000 thousand people. …

The translation via google translate is rather bad and I already cleaned up the worst of it (Thai is very difficult to translate through these machines). Either way the information this relays is complete bogus.

I have contacted some TG cabin crew and asked them to read this article plus give me their take on it. The reaction wasn’t positive as one might expect.

As I previously reported Thai Airways has given new contracts to roughly 9000 employees and over 4000 have failed a test for re-employment for various reasons including them never having met the conditions for employment in the first place (and were hired anyhow due to connections).

These new contracts also included 3000 cabin crew as mentioned in the article. By signing these new contracts they automatically became “volunteers” for the 9 months leave period. Nice way to volunteer eh?

Employees can still be called to work to operate the special flights TG operated on a rotation basis and will of course receive payment for those but other than that they receive 20% of their base salary per month which is just 3000 Baht, roughly US$100 on average (varies by rank and seniority). THAI generously allows their “volunteers” to take up other employment during this period. Unbelievable!

In the meanwhile those other employees including the 4250+ who weren’t presented with new contracts still receive most of their previous base salary as do those working in other fields of THAI including administration and ground services.

Today Bangkok Post reported that THAI is starting to sell flights again as Thailand still entertains ambitions to soon reopen the country in certain parts (mostly Phuket).

Thai Airways has started selling direct flights from four cities in Europe to Phuket as the province counts down to its planned quarantine-free reopening in July, with hundreds of tour agents invited to take experimental trips during the third quarter to test the scheme.

However, with the cabinet on Wednesday extending a nationwide state of emergency until July 31, all services to the island have to be conducted as semi-commercial flights, requiring passengers to obtain a certificate of entry prior to arrival as part of Covid-19 containment measures.

Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, deputy governor for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas at Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said tourism demand during the initial stage of the Phuket sandbox is expected to be soft because of tight travel restrictions in both Thailand and some tourist origin countries.

For instance, a travel advisory in the UK rates Thailand on the amber list, mandating travellers returning from Thailand to quarantine at home for 10 days. …

TAT is working with Thai Airways in preparation for the July reopening, with the flag carrier launching ticket sales to test the market, with one returning flight for each route per week.

Thai Airways offers direct flights from Paris, Frankfurt, London and Copenhagen to Phuket via a triangular pattern.

Inbound flights from Europe will fly direct to Phuket airport before stopping over at Suvarnabhumi airport for departure.

The flag carrier also plans two routes from Asian cities — Seoul and Taipei — to Phuket from July, while the schedule from Tokyo still requires confirmation.

I’m not sure how THAI is planning to properly operate if they sent most of their flying employees into a status of voluntary leave but that aside it shows the detachment from reality that both Thai Airways and the officials from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) are indulging themselves in.

Since Thailand has recorded strong outbreak numbers many countries have placed Thailand on their list of travel advisories and restrictions. This idea that the whole world is just sitting on hot stones waiting to run back for a Thailand holiday is insane. At this point travelers have much better, more convenient and more affordable options at their doorstep rather than flying to South East Asia to a country that is still locked up to a certain degree (no spas, no bars, no alcohol).

In any case Thai Airways – an airline that still owes Billions of Baht in non-refunded tickets for cancelled flights to customers – is now asking you to trust them once again with your money and buy fresh tickets. I don’t think so!

Conclusion

Thai Airways has send 3000 of their cabin crew (which is pretty much the entire lot) into a “voluntary” 9 month leave of absence and pay them 20% of their base salary – $100 – monthly. That this doesn’t exactly prompt a cordial atmosphere in the company goes without saying.

In the meanwhile THAI promotes new flights to Thailand under the prospective reopening plans run by the competent figureheads of the Ministry of Tourism and local politicians during a time where Thailand experiences it’s worst Covid outbreak since beginning of the pandemic. Up to date there are roughly 3 Million people vaccinated with at least one dose of the two vaccines Thailand currently administers (over 96% of them with the Chinese Sinovac). Chances of this reopening plan succeeding are probably the same as receiving your money back from Thai Airways.

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