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PAT union insists no corruption in overtime claims

The Port Authority of Thailand's Labour Union on Tuesday (Aug 22) strongly dismissed massive corruption in his organisation as alleged by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).

The PAT Labour Union president Rachen Rangmarerng insisted that there was no corruption in overtime claims by PAT employees.

His assurance came after the DSI revealed massive corruption in the state enterprise after almost three years of investigation.

The DSI found 11 PAT administrators to have colluded in false overtime claims for staff, causing 300-400 million baht a year in damages. Over 500 employees were also allegedly involved.

But Mr Rachen made clear that employees could work overtime only they were permitted by their bosses.

Instead he noted that the alleged overtime scam might be caused by different methods in calculating overtime payment.

He explained that the original rule said that as the PAT deals with cargo transportation, overtime calculation must be assessed from chartered rate based on salary.

But in 2013, the Central Labour Court ruled that since the PAT handles cargo transportation, payment of overtime must be calculated on hourly basis based on salary.

It also advised both PAT administrators and employees to settle their difference in overtime calculation, and reach a solution acceptable by both sides, he said.

The PAT union leader also suggested that the PAT board should appoint a committee to investigate by itself without having to await action by the NACC.

I respect the DSI investigation because what it did was to perform its duties. But what I suggested was part of the information that showed we could not do everything as we wished. We have our checking system so please have sympathy for us. All employees and administrators wanted to see an end to the scam and move forward properly and fairly, the union leader said.

PAT acting director Sub Lt Songtham Chanprasit said no disciplinary committee is appointed yet to investigate until the NACC files its investigation report to the state prosecutor to take legal action.

DSI Intellectual Property Affairs commissioner Col Phinit Tangsakul said the DSI looked into the scam since 2013.

But its investigation was back dated five years and several malpractices were detected.

He gave examples of the PAT's overtime payments which didn't have official documents to verify dates in overtime work, thus resulting in the Labour Court to invalidate employees' overtime payment as some have claimed 22 hours in one day for overtime working.

In normal practice, an authorized person will sign approval of overtime payment only it is attached with certified documents. But in this case, there was no documents and payment still went on as usual, he said.

According to the DSI investigation, among the 11 PAT administrators found to be involved in malpractices are nine division directors, one department director and one assistant director.

It also involved more than 560 PAT employees, Col Phinit said, adding that the DSI would forward the case to the NACC for further action because senior government officials were involved.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)