About 30 barbers and hairdressers seek help from the Dhamrongtham Centre in Surat Thani on April 30 to protect their occupation from foreign competition. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)

The Department of Employment has tried to ease the concerns among barbers and hairdressers after they came out against a planned trimming of reserved professions for Thais.

Department director-general Anurak Tossarat said on Tuesday the Labour Ministry has not yet finalised what jobs to be removed from the exclusive list.

The ministry is still sounding out reactions from people who could be affected by the decision through meetings and the website of the department, the official said.

The ministry is considering removing about 10 of 39 occupations currently reserved for Thais as local people show no interest in them.

Haircutting and hairdressing were discussed at a forum last month as possible candidates to be removed  from the prohibition list in use for almost four decades

Other potential drops included shoe-making and hat-making, as well as mattress- and blanket-making.

The plan will reportedly be finalised and the updated list of jobs for Thais will be announced by the end of next month.

Mr Anurak said the decision will be based on “national security” and job opportunities for Thais.

The speculation that their jobs are under threat has spread quickly to barber shops and hair salons.

On April 30, about 30 of them petitioned the Damrongtham centre in Surat Thani, urging the government to stop the plan to “unlock” their occupation and expose them to foreign competition.

“This occupation is a form of art, having been handed down from one generation to another. We have not yet had a shortage of barbers and hairdressers. In fact, there’s an oversupply,” barber Viroj Rukklad said.

A barber in Chai Nat also shared the view. “The job should be kept only for Thais and our future generations. Foreigners should not be allowed to take it away from us,” said the barber, who requested anonymity.

News Reporter

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