Contractors demand Burmese migrants
Mass transit contractors have made a desperate appeal to labour authorities to hire 10,000 immigrant workers to complete the 236km electric railway system in greater Bangkok.
The contractors had complained about a lack of labourers which would result in construction delays, Supoj Saplorm, permanent secretary of the Transport Ministry, said.
They intend writing to the Labour Ministry to seek permission to bring in workers from neighbouring countries, especially from Burma.
One contractor which has already written to the ministry, Ch Karnchang, reported that its work was behind schedule and that it needed more people in such fields as pile cap removal and steel cutting.
“I have inspected the construction progress of projects which have encountered problems. Their work was not complete in areas including piling. The contractors revealed that they were suffering from a severe shortage of workers,” Mr Supoj said. The shortage is affecting the Red Line from Bang Sue to Taling Chan and the Purple Line from Bang Yai to Bang Sue, as well as the Blue Line from Hua Lamphong to Bang Khae and from Bang Sue to Tha Phra.
Also affected are the Red Line from Bang Sue to Rangsit, and the Green Line from Onnuj via Baring to Samut Prakan, the latter part of which is still at the bidding stage.
There is one contractor for the Red Line’s Bang Sue-Taling Chan section and three contractors for the Purple Line’s Bang Yai-Bang Sue section.
There will be five contractors for the Blue Line’s Hua Lamphong-Bang Khae and Bang Sue-Tha Phra sections, two contractors for the Red Line’s Bang Sue-Rangsit section, and one contractor for the Green Line’s Baring-Samut Prakan section.
Each contract needs at least 1,000 workers. However, priority projects needed at least 20,000 workers but only about 10,000 workers were available, Mr Supoj said.
Mr Supoj said he expected similar problems on projects commissioned by the Rural Roads Department and the Highways Department.
However, he said contractors could not cite labour shortages as an excuse for delays as they should have assessed their ability to complete their work well before signing the contracts.
A labour shortage contributed partly to the decline of the Thai Industries Sentiment Index (TISI) in March to 102.3 points from 108.2 in February.