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If the tourists keep coming beyond March, Phuket will blossom

Phuket Resort Staff Check Pay for Bonuses

Saturday, January 17, 2009
MONDAY will be a critical day for some resorts on Phuket. Staff who are paid twice a month will be checking their pay packets, and reacting to what they find.

Some may stop work or even demonstrate if they do not like what they see.

The uncertainty of 2009 and the flow of tourists is at the heart of the issue. Resorts just do not know what the future holds from March onwards.

So they are forced to behave with extreme caution when it comes to spending money, even though the peak season over Christmas and New Year went almost as well as usual.

Some staff, as with the workers at the Rolly Tasker sail loft in Chalong, will be expecting regular salary increases. Others will be looking for expected bonuses.

But if the employers have neglected to warn their staff what to expect in their pay packets on Monday, look out. There will be some unhappy reactions.

This is because the workers have been told by local welfare authorities that 2009 is uncertain, and that they should plan their spending and base any credit on their earnings.

So any resort or business owner who has failed to warn staff of negative changes in their salary expectations can anticipate problems, possibly as early as Monday.

The president of the Laguna Phuket union, Wichien Tannumas, told Phuketwan yesterday that workers at Laguna, for example, were usually given a salary increase based on their annual bonus.

Workers would be anticipating pay rises as usual, even though they might not be as high as in previous years.

''We understand if some resorts are not able to match previous years' increases because everyone knows this is a difficult time,'' he said.

''But naturally, we would like to be involved in the process and told what to expect, because we all have regular outgoings on accommodation and transport, and many people need to pay debts.''

A dispute at the Rolly Tasker sail makers loft this week ended when an official from the Phuket Provincial Office of Labour Protection and Welfare negotiated a settlement.

Resorts and other tourism-related businesses cannot tell yet what the year holds, so a conservative approach is understandable.

In many cases, resorts that normally average a 90 percent occupancy rate through December and January have slipped to 60 percent, a reduction that staff can see for themselves.

The key lies in communication through the uncertainty. The same commonsense, warn-them-in-advance philosophy should also be applied to workers who are paid monthly.

Stopwork Takes Wind Out of Tasker Sails
Photo Album
The women who shape the sails on the large sailmaking area at Rolly Tasker's loft have downed tools in a dispute over pay. A union representative was talking to management
Stopwork Takes Wind Out of Tasker Sails

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