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Rail strike over safety slows southern Thailand

Rail strike over safety slows southern Thailand

Thailand's trouble-plagued train service partially resumed in the southernmost provinces Wednesday following a 12-day strike by union workers over safety concerns, the railways' top official said.
Railway union members in Hat Yai in Songkhla province had stopped train services to the deep south since Oct. 16, saying locomotives were poorly maintained and expressing concerns about passengers' safety.
Thousands of people have been stranded because of the strike, said State Railways of Thailand Governor Yutthana Thapcharoen. He said officials and union representatives were expected to hold talks Thursday on resuming full services.
Union leaders could not be immediately reached for comment, though service partially resumed because they want to show some progress.
Yutthana said a train left Hat Yai on Wednesday for the Malaysian border town of Sungai Golok, with 10 policemen on board and about 200 others deployed at the station.
The limited service resumed a day after two small explosives went off near railway tracks in the southern provinces of Narathiwat and Yala, injuring two soldiers.
No one took responsibility for the attacks, said army spokesman Col. Parinya Chaidilok. Authorities are not certain whether the bombs were related the strike or to an ongoing Islamic insurgency in the southernmost provinces.
Also Tuesday, a train was blocked from leaving Hat Yai by another train parked on the same track, Yutthana said. It was not clear what happened.
"It is very dangerous and we are planning to take legal actions against at least 10 union members involved," he said. "Thankfully, the driver stopped the train in time."
He dismissed union concerns about safety standards and an aging rail network.


Updated : 2021-02-26 13:12 GMT+08:00