BTS Skytrain Workers in Bangkok Threaten Strike Over Unpaid Debts

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BTS Skytrain Workers in Bangkok Threaten Strike Over Unpaid Debts
BTS protesting at the city's Government House. ( Photo : Bangkokbiznews )

Over 300 employees of the BTS Skytrain said they were willing to stop working and bring the city’s mass transit system to a standstill in seven days if the government doesn’t clear the THB 50 billion (USD 1.5 billion) debt it owes to operators.

Employees of the Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) staged a protest outside the city’s Government House on Tuesday, holding up placards and demanding that the debt is repaid swiftly. 

One of the group members spoke to the Thai media saying, “We are here to submit a letter to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to call for the repayment of the 50 billion baht debt. I insisted that we come here by ourselves, as the representatives of BTS workers, not the company. We are worried that the debt will finally affect us in the future. One day the BTS might have to stop operation because the company is unable to pay for the electric system, water, and staff members.”

This whopping amount of debt owed by the government and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) stems from the extension and operation of the Green Line, with the initial debt being THB 40 billion, but the 3-year-old debt had now increased to THB 50 billion, with interest alone being THB 8 million a day.

The BTS authorities reminded the Government to clear its dues in April 2021 and November 2022 and even filed a suit with the Administrative Court, followed by the court ordering the Bangkok Metropolitan Association (BMA) to make the payments. However, the City Hall continues to delay clearing its dues and has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court asking for more time. 

Employee representative Seksak Hoonsa-ard clarified that the employees are protesting on their own and their actions do not reflect that of the company executives.

Mr, Seksak continued to say that if the company resorts to stopping running the Green Line extension, he hopes people will understand why reports the Bangkok Post.