OTEP Calls for Lay-off Review as 961 Employees Face the Axe on 1st August

Union Calls For Layoff Review

The labour union of the Business Organisation of the Office of the Welfare Promotion Commission for Teachers and Educational Personnel (OTEP) is calling on management to review its lay-off scheme, saying it is unfair to terminate jobs when the organisation’s financial woes stem from poor management.

An order issued on Monday to terminate the employment of 961 staff members, signed by the secretary-general of the Office of Non-Formal and Informal Education, Disakul Kasemsawas, cited enormous debt and a lack of liquidity as the reasons behind the move.

In its statement opposing the staff cuts, which are set to take effect on 1st Aug 2020, the labour union pointed the finger at management over its decision to subcontract its work to companies.

According to the union, the Business Organisation has certain fixed sources of income such as publishing school textbooks for the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology and the Office of Basic Education Commission, which meant it should not have made a loss.

A spokesperson for the union said, “The problem is that it subcontracted the work to private companies and opened ways for graft”.

Outstanding debts of 5.7 billion baht were from loans sought by the organisation’s executives since 2001 to hire firms to print textbooks. The borrowing reflects a lack of financial discipline leading to bad debts, according to the union.

“The union has submitted complaints to the Department of Special Investigation and the National Anti-Corruption Commission. Some people have been indicted in some of the cases but those responsible did not take any action.

“This is the main reason for the loss but [the problems] have not been raised and fixed,” the statement said.

“While the root cause of operating at a loss and debt have not been addressed, the authority decided to cut jobs.

“We think the Business Organisation’s executives should first figure out the cause of financial problems and use governance in solving the issue,” said the union.

Under the order, 961 employees out of a total of 1,035 stand to lose their jobs.

Meanwhile, Otep will lend 1.5 billion baht to the organisation to compensate the laid-off employees and the organisation will use its assets, including land, buildings and machines to pay back its debts.

Late last year, the organisation cited the same reason when it laid off 227 employees.