Thai Airways union threatens strike if protestors harmed

Union promises to ground planes if police break up protests, marches

BANGKOK (REUTERS) — The labour union of flag carrier Thai Airways International threatened on Thursday to ground the airline's fleet if any harm came to protesters rallying to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The union, which has 15,000 members, would stop work if police used force to break up protests and marches, which have been taking place across Bangkok for more than a month and intensified this week.

"If the government uses force to disperse the protesters and people are injured, we will increase the pressure by stopping the plane wheels from turning," said Damrong Waikanee, president of the Thai Airways Labour International Union, told Reuters.

The airline is 51 percent owned by the Finance Ministry, which has been occupied by the protesters since Monday.

A coalition of 45 labour unions urged their 200,000 members to take leave on Thursday and Friday to join the anti-government rallies.

Half of those unions represent employees of state-run companies, among them banks, energy, utilities and telecoms firms.

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