PHUKET resorts have begun putting staff on ''half-rations.'' They work 15 days a month, for half their normal pay, Sasiwan Anantagool, the Permanent Secretary of the Employment Department, based in Bangkok, told Phuketwan
Businesses of all kinds were doing the same, she said. Khun Sasiwan was conducting a survey of the region and was heading for Phang Nga, Krabi and Ranong this afternoon.
Two resorts on Phuket have notified the department that they are going to be forced to lay off 60 staff next week to add to the toll.
''Half a job is better than none,'' she said. ''But conditions may grow a lot worse yet.''
Her advice to people in work and people looking for work is the same: be cautious with your spending because next year is going to get even tougher than this high season.
''People will have to adapt,'' she said. ''There are still jobs available in some areas, for example, retail store checkout positions.
''To survive the coming downturn, people need to take whatever jobs are available now, and hope they last.''
Up to December 2, 519 resorts and other businesses around Thailand had laid off 44,797 workers, she said. Khun Sasiwan said the Employment Department was anticipating another 200 firms would lay off about 83,000 workers early in the new year.
Fifteen businesses on Phuket had told the department of 113 layoffs since the airport blockade finished on December 3.
But compared to other parts of Thailand, Phuket is relatively healthy when it comes to preserving jobs.
People who were used to supplementing their salaries with service charged would be wise to accept any employment of any kind now.
Other experts have advised Phuket's workforce to curtail unnecessary spending and to avoid getting into debt now.
A sheer cliff face abyss of virtually no forward bookings is expected on the island from March onwards as the world slips towards a global recession.
Remarkably, other destinations in Thailand are even worse off now and will be worse off than Phuket when the full effects of the crisis strike home in 2009.
This is because Phuket and the Andaman region have had to adapt to a succession of troubles, including the devastating 2004 tsunami.
Direct flights and charter flights to Phuket airport will help.
However, the global financial crisis of 2009, combined with the pain inflicted by the continuing cancellations from the airports blockade, is likely to cause job losses, business closures and suffering on an unprecedented scale in modern times in Thailand.