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TAT reshuffle leads to union petition

The Tourism Authority of Thailand State Enterprise Employee Union (TAT U) yesterday submitted a letter to Tourism and Sports Minister Somsak Pureesrisak, requesting that the TAT board revise its decision to promote and relocate 25 officials at C9-C10 management level, on grounds of good governance and transparency.

The management reshuffle - the biggest change in 53 years of TAT operations - was approved by the authority's board on July 17, with the decision set to take effect on October 1.

However, the majority of the TAT's staff are not at all pleased about the move.

Of the more than TAT 900 employees at home and overseas, over 500 have expressed their disagreement about the board's decision through the TAT's private Facebook group page - and the number expressing disapproval is growing.

Yesterday, nearly 200 of them gathered at the agency's head office on Petchaburi Road, where they wore black in protest.

Before moving on to meet Somsak in the early afternoon, their letter was also submitted to Suraphon Svetasreni, the TAT governor, whom they asked to make known the criteria used for the promotions and relocations.

Suraphon, who accepted the letter and vowed to give an explanation this week, insisted the procedure had been transparent and that such changes were based on the 25 officials' ability to fit in with the work required in their new posts.

A number of management principles are involved and there are many employees competent to work at the higher levels of the TAT, which wants to be visionary and forward-looking in its management, he said.

Nattapong Sukkree, TAT U's president, said there was no political motivation behind yesterday's turnout of TAT staff.

The tourism and sports minister has the authority to revise the decision of the TAT board, chaired by Pensuda Prai-aram, he said.

Also, the union's objective was to call for transparency in the operation of the agency at the helm of the fast-changing tourism industry, and a standardised approach should be established.

Capable people are required to work in the right jobs in order to achieve Bt2.2 trillion in annual tourism revenue by 2015, which is a policy objective of the government, he added.

"In the new era of management under the 'Change' campaign launched by the TAT, if there are questions to be raised, a clear reply should be given to employees," said the union chief.

Somsak said yesterday he had no power to interfere in the board's decision, and could only intervene in the event of a serious situation that damaged the TAT's operation.

He said he would, however, ask the TAT governor about the issue, as he is the secretary of the board.

A source at the TAT said that despite what some might say, the board's decision was politically motivated.

It is obvious, the source maintained, that more than half of the people being promoted and relocated are not qualified for their new positions.


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