The Transport Ministry yesterday tried to convince workers of the State Railway of Thailand to support the overhaul of the state enterprise's operations.
Permanent Secretary Supoth Sublom and SRT management arranged the meeting with 1,000 employees out of the almost 30,000-strong workforce to explain the benefits of the revamp.
The SRT's labour union has opposed the reorganisation, which will divide SRT into three strategic business units - train operation, maintenance and asset management - plus a subsidiary to run the Airport Rail Link.
The union claims that the split and the policy that urges the three units to work independently and focus on profit making were detrimental to public service and employees.
But Supoth said SRT's operations have suffered from a lack of efficiency and flexibility. For example, SRT has as many as 10 deputy governors in charge of the four existing core business units, reflecting redundancy.
But under the new structure each of the three SBUs and the subsidiary will get its own CEO, which would promote operating efficiency and benefit customers.
The Cabinet has already approved the SRT re-engineering plan, with implementation expected to start in October. This month the Cabinet will consider SRT's business plan for the airport link subsidiary.
If approved, the subsidiary will be registered with the Commerce Ministry.
The Airport Rail Link will commence full commercial operations in December.
If the SRT could successfully adopt the new business model, the ministry would ask the government to step in to help shoulder SRT's debt of Bt70 billion, so that the operation under the new structure would be debt-free, he added.