Ministry of Labour sets to expand oversea labour market to assist Thai returnees from Libya

 

Ministry of Labour held a press conference to reveal latest development of MOL relief plan for affected Thai workers in riot-torn Libya. Participants were Mr. Sutham Nateetong, Ministry of Labour’s Spokesperson and Mr. Jirasuk Sugandhajati, Director-General of Department of Employment, who reported that prudence, timeliness, and safety are key elements of MOL evacuation mission and MOL prepares to expand oversea labour market to assist Thai returnees from Libya.
 
                        On 8 March 2011, 11am, at Ministry of Labour’s Tien Achakul Conference Room, level 10, Mr. Sutham Nateetong, Ministry of Labour’s Spokesperson (Political Affairs), revealed that he was assigned by Mr. Chalermchai Srion, Minister of Labour, to represent Ministry of Labour in the evacuation mission of Thai workers in Libya along with 20 staffs from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Royal Thai Navy’s medical team during 24 February – 8 March 2011. He was instructed by Minister of Labour to undertake the mission with prudence; to begin the operation in the most risky area; and to ensure 100-percent safety of Thai workers evacuating from Libya. During early days of the mission, he phoned several worker camps in Libya and coordinated with the Royal Thai Embassy in Tripoli to obtain information about Thai workers stranded in Libya. In an early stage of evacuation mission, Thai workers were evacuated through Egyptian-Libyan border and most of them have already returned to Thailand. In a later stage of evacuation mission, Thai workers were evacuated through Tunisian-Libyan border. So far, a total number of 11,769 Thai workers have been evacuated into safe areas. There are still some 5,000 Thai workers residing in safe areas in southern part of Libya, several thousand kilometers away from the battle zones. If the violence were to escalate, Ministry of Labour would coordinate with Ministry of Foreign Affairs to plan to evacuate them. More Thai workers continue to arrive home today with a flight carrying 260 Thais arrived in Suvarnabhumi International Airport at 6.30am. Upon the arrival, Mr. Apichart Mekintha, worker from Sukhothai, was found suffer from apoplexy causing half of his body to become paralyzed after he got stress during the evacuation from Libya. He was already taken to Sukhothai Hospital. Another 635 Thai workers are expected to arrive in Thailand today and Ministry of Labour will arrange to send officials to assist them to travel back to their hometown. Meanwhile, Mr. Jirasuk Sugandhajati, Director-General of Department of Employment, revealed that Department of Employment has prepared work positions for Thai workers evacuated from Libya with 3 domestic companies having notified their desire to hire labours and set up a job fair booth at the Airport. Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd., currently looks for carpenter, mason, pipe fitter and general staff with 2,000 positions available, Italian-Thai Co., Ltd., currently looks for various types of technicians with over 1,000 positions available, and Double-Wing Spirit Service Co., Ltd., currently looks for staffs in various positions with approximately 4,000 positions available, making up a total of 7,068 work positions available in Thailand.
 
            As for work positions in oversea countries, there are totally 4,419 work positions available in oversea countries. Taiwan currently demand labours in construction and manufacturing fields with approximately 300-500 and 3,000 positions available in each field respectively. Qatar currently demands labours for his industrial sector with totally 110 positions available. There are also 478 work positions available in United Arab Emirates and 331 available in Kuwait. Ministry of Labour by Department of Employment are currently in talks with Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 3 commercial banks, and job placement companies about assistance plan for workers who want to travel to work aboard. So far, Krung Thai Bank, Government Saving Bank, Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-Operatives has agreed to offer soft loan of 50,000-100,000 baht to each Thai worker with each bank providing a financial amount of 1 billion baht. Thai workers evacuated from Libya will be given a priority to take out the loan first.
 
Mr. Sutham added that the evacuation mission of Thai workers has been a success after a total of 11,796 Thai workers have been evacuated from Libya into safe areas since February 24. Out of this number, 6,359 Thai workers have already arrived Thailand and some 5,000 of them are currently staying in hotels on Libyan-Tunisian border. All of the remaining Thai workers are expected to return home by March 14.However, some 5,000 Thai workers residing in southern part of Libya opt to remain in the country as they believe they live in the areas which are safe for them. Ministry of Labour has coordinated with Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs to closely monitor the situation and prepare for evacuation plan should the violence spread to southern part of Libya.