About 3,000 Thai workers have reportedly lost their employment in the first month of 2009, while more than 60,000 others are at risk of losing their jobs soon, according to the Ministry of Labour.
Since the New Year, 50 private firms have closed, causing 2,863 employees to lose their jobs. Another 102 companies are likely to be impacted by the economic crisis, with 68,122 employees' jobs to be affected. Of this number, 23,296 workers are likely to be laid off, while another 44,826 may be asked to reduce their working hours, Director-general of the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare Amporn Nitisiri said on Wednesday.
Thamrongvit Vilairat, vice-president of the labour union at GIS Data Co, a map-making production services company, said it has just turned out 281 of its 430 contract workers, claiming being severely affected by the economic slowdown.
Thamrongvit, however, said that the union believes the company has not been affected by the global recession, but is trying to deal with conflicts between the employer and workers who demand the company employ them as full time workers, and that the firm may use this as a reason to lay off its employees.
Thailand's National Statistical Office (NSP) earlier reported that in December alone the unemployment rate edged up to about 540,000 persons, or 0.6 per cent higher than the same period of the year before, and increased by 20,000 from November.
The report said that of this number, 150,000 people are new graduates, while 390,000 are current employees. The most affected employees are living in the southern region of the country, accounting for 2.8 per cent, followed by those in the capital at 1.6 per cent.