Eastern government workers join Bangkok protest over wage bonuses

Friday, 04 October 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 40 By  Patcharapol Panrak

Local-government workers from across the Eastern Seaboard joined a protest by more than 300 bureaucrats in Bangkok to protest an Office of the Auditor General order that would force them to repay eight years of salary bonuses.

Rayong local and sub-district administrative organization workers were among 20 government agencies that sent 15 representatives each to Royal Plaza Sept. 26 to protest the salary revocation, arguing that paying back bonuses that were spent long ago would cause serious financial hardships.

A Rayong administrator said the issue developed after the Office of Auditor General found that no regulations existed to legitimize the payment of bonuses to local-government workers. The Department of Local Administration then drafted the required regulations, but Deputy Interior Minister Preecha Prasobdee refused to sign the order because it applied them retroactively to payments made since 2005.

Protesters demanded Preecha either sign the existing draft or author new ones that would allow them to keep the money they’ve already been paid and continue to receive bonuses.

The DLA estimates 500,000 local government workers are affected by the issue. Unless the ministry acts, employees will not only have to pay back prior bonuses, they will not receive any future payments.

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