Thai TV channel sorry that overworked man died at his desk

A TV network said it will compensate the family of a 44-year-old employee who died working at his desk. 

Thai News Network or TNN on Monday announced that it will honor Sarawut “Bird” Srisawas’s death by giving his family 24 times his monthly salary and insurance payouts. 

“On behalf of the company, we’re truly sorry for this unforeseen loss. The company will do the best to help heal Sarawut’s family,” read the statement from TNN’s Human Resources department. 

Sarawut was a senior employee at TNN. He was found dead at his desk Friday due to a heart attack.

His funeral was held at Wat Mahawong Paknam in Samut Prakan province. His body will be cremated tomorrow at 5pm. 

Sarawut’s account was first disseminated through a Facebook page, Jor Dub, which follows Thai media. It explained that Sarawut had been working a lot of overtime – some weeks he worked seven days – and had started to fall ill. 

“Even when he took sick leave for two days, he was called back to the TV station to work more … is this a TV station or hell?” the Facebook page wrote in a caption next to a photo of Sarawut’s desk. 

The incident created a buzz online, where many criticized TNN management for overworking their employees. A representative of the Thai Journalists Association has urged relevant agencies to undertake a thorough investigation on the incident. Some of the specified organizations are the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission and Ministry of Labour. 

Thai labor law stipulates that the maximum number of working hours of employees is eight hours a day and not more than 48 hours a week. The employer and the employee may agree to arrange longer working hours for some types of work, but the total number of hours in any case must not exceed 48 hours a week.

“The media industry has a work culture that risks violating labor laws, especially the highly competitive online media,” association vice president Teeranai Charuvastra said in a statement, mentioning overtime without compensation and continuous shifts that leave employees without rest. 

“This is the problem that’s long known among people working in the media industry but it still happens all the time. This issue therefore deserves attention and could be resolved in a concrete way quickly,” he added.

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