Minimum wage expected to be hiked by more than Bt15, but nowhere near Bt600 request
The minimum wage looks set to rise by at least Bt15 per day starting at the end of this month.
Labour Ministry permanent secretary Jarin Chakkaphark said yesterday that the increase might be well over Bt15 because the wage had been fixed at Bt300 a day for most parts of the country for a few years already.
“The Tripartite Wage Committee will convene a meeting to pass a resolution by January 15,” said Jarin, who chairs the committee.
Labour Minister Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew said the wage hike was in response to an order by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha.
“He wants to make the minimum-wage increase a New Year gift to workers across the country,” he said.
Adul said he expected the wage hike to take effect from the end of this month.
It remains to be seen whether the increase will be high enough to satisfy workers. In recent months, it has been reported that labour leaders were hoping the minimum daily wage would be hiked to between Bt600 and Bt700 a day.
That demand is based on the principle advocated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which suggests that minimum wages should be high enough to cover the expenses of a worker and two other family members. Labour leaders, moreover, hoped that authorities would ensure that commodity prices would not rise following the wage hikes.
They said the government should not be worried about the possibility of investors relocating their manufacturing bases out of Thailand because the government should prioritise workers’ quality of life.
Jarin yesterday said the Tripartite Wage Committee would take into account consumer price indexes, economic growth in each province of Thailand and neighbouring nations, and living expenses.
He said he believed the wage hike would encourage more people to take up jobs.
“We will specify minimum hourly wages too for special categories of jobs, the types of jobs that elderly and physically challenged people can do, or the type that company workers can do after normal work hours,” Jarin said.
In 2013, the minimum wage was hiked significantly to Bt300 a day across the country by the Yingluck Shinawatra-led government. Employers agreed to the hike but demanded that the wage be frozen afterwards.
Last year, the minimum daily wage increased to Bt310 a day, but only in 30 provinces.
“But this time, we will ensure wages rise across the country,” Jarin said.
Meanwhile, a subcommittee on solutions to human trafficking and illegal labour yesterday approved a new work plan to combat human trafficking.
The work plan has been revised in response to discussions regarding labour issues between Thailand and the European Union.
“This plan is the key to solving labour problems in the fisheries sector and to the removal of the EU yellow flag,” Jarin said, referring to the EU’s warning designation for Thailand’s fisheries industry.