Employers’ Confederation against blanket minimum wage hike


Nearly 200 entities in the private sector are opposed to the government’s plan to raise the minimum wage nationwide to 400 baht per day from October 1.

The Cabinet on Tuesday acknowledged the move proposed by Labour Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn to push for a 400-baht daily minimum wage across all industries in all provinces.

The government had on April 13 hiked minimum wages for employees of 4-star hotels in selected areas of 10 provinces.

After the cabinet meeting, representatives from the Employers' Confederation of Thailand (ECOT) submitted a letter to the Labour Minister and tripartite wage committee opposing the proposed wage hike.

Backing ECOT’s stance on wage hike are 76 provincial chambers of commerce, 95 trade associations, 16 employers' confederations, and the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry, and Banking (JSCCIB), which comprises the Thai Bankers' Association, the Federation of Thai Industries and the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

Naowarat Songsawatchai, chair of the Employers' Confederation of Thai Trade and Industry, said on Tuesday that Thailand’s current economic status is not ready for adjusting minimum wage to 400 baht per day nationwide.

“The Thai economy is in fragile stage due to fluctuations of the baht, inflation, energy prices, and international trade barriers,” he said. “These factors have been diminishing our competitiveness so it is definitely not a good time to raise the minimum wage.”

Labour Minister Phiphat said on Tuesday that the government will not back down from its move to raise the minimum wage nationwide to 400 baht on October 1. He added that his ministry will closely monitor the impact of the wage hike, especially on small and medium enterprises, and will provide suitable support measures.

“The Commerce Ministry will take care of the impact on product prices, while the Finance Ministry will be responsible for tax measures to help entrepreneurs,” Phiphat said.

Atthayuth Leeyawanich, a member of the tripartite wage committee representing employers, said that the committee has suggested a study to determine which industries and business types need wage adjustment. The result will be presented to the meeting on June 19, when the committee will vote on a new formula to calculate suitable wages based on industry and province.