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TOT backs down, agrees to 7.5% wage rise

THE BOARD and management of state telecom enterprise TOT agreed yesterday with employees' request for a 7.5-per-cent wage increase, starting in April. The hike is the same as last year's.

TOT chairman Suchart Wongananchai and president Yongyuth Wattanasin gave their promises of the pay rise to staff after some 1,000 TOT union members wore black suits and gathered at the agency's headquarters on Chaeng Wattana Road to demand higher salaries and bonuses.

They also criticised the board and management for being ineffective, which could lead to an operating loss of Bt5 billion this year.

TOT employees have enjoyed a 7.5-per-cent salary |hike every year, but this year the board decided to cap the annual increase at about 4 per cent.

The agency had said it would pay a 0.4-month bonus this year, down from 1.2 months last year.

Last year TOT earned Bt4.1 billion, including income from concessions, less than half of the Bt10.8 billion in the previous year.

TOT had been buoyed by more than Bt10 billion a year in revenue from telecom concessions for more than 10 years, but starting this year, it another state enterprise, CAT Telecom, have to pass all concession revenue to the state under the Frequency Allocation Act.

Yongyuth said it was difficult for TOT to be profitable without the concession revenue.

TOT is seeking partnerships with its concession holder Advanced Info Services for third-generation wireless broadband service on the 2.1-gigahertz spectrum as part of its hunt for alternative revenue sources.


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