Rubber factory to close, 3,000 jobs lost

A Thai-US joint venture that makes and exports rubber gloves under the Safeskin brand has announced the planned permanent closure of its operation in Songkhla due to accumulated losses since the floods in late 2010, resulting in around 3,000 employees losing their jobs.

Safeskin Medical and Scientific (Thailand) Ltd, a large producer and exporter of rubber gloves and latex based in Songkhla’s Hat Yai district, circulated letters to its employees in late June informing them of the company’s closure after 16 years in operation as the result of losses, ASTV Manager online newspaper reported.

The actual closure of the operation will be at the end of the year.

The company was established in 1998 with registered capital of 696.25 million baht. It had expanded business and received investment privileges from the Board of Investment to produce 1.6 million rubber gloves with an investment of 1.125 billion baht.

Somrudee Nu-iead, who has worked with the company since its opening, said the company had not given and previous hint about the closure and most workers were shocked by the announcement. They did not what jobs they could move to.

The laid off workers will get only legal compensation, not consolation compensation, as they have been given six months advance notice of the factory's closure.  

The company earlier said the factory suffred great damage from the flood waters, which were approximately two metres deep, and had to close for one month for repairs. 

However, its operation had not run smoothly from the environmental point of view. Local villagers complained about polluted and deteriorated water quality in the U-Tapao canal basin. In February 2009, about 500 villagers gathered in front of the company urging it to stop using coal for fuel due to environmental concerns.

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