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Exporters up in arms against plan to hike daily minimum wage

Feb 25. 2019
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By The Nation

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EXPORT companies in more than 40 provinces are voicing loud opposition to plans of raising the minimum daily wage.

Meanwhile, the Thai National Shippers’ Council and Thai Food Processors’ Association have warned that increasing the minimum daily wage will scare away foreign investors and will mostly benefit migrant workers. 

“Thai workers will barely benefit from the wage increase, because most Thais are skilled enough and earn more than the minimum wage,” Thai Chamber of Commerce’s vice president Sanan Ang-ubolkul said yesterday. 

He was speaking in response to reports that relevant authorities are planning to propose a hike of between Bt2 and Bt10 to the daily minimum wage. 

“Exporters in more than 40 provinces are already suffering from a stronger baht, and hope the minimum daily wage will remain the same,” Sanan said. 

There are currently seven daily minimum wage rates – Bt308 in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat; Bt310 in 22 provinces; Bt315 in 21; Bt318 in seven; Bt320 in 14 provinces including Khon Kaen and Ubon Ratchathani; Bt325 in seven provinces including Bangkok and Samut Prakan; and Bt330 elsewhere. The average daily minimum wage works out to Bt315.9.

Sanan said the Thai Chamber of Commerce was gathering information to present to relevant parties for consideration. 

Last week, labour unions urged the Central Wage Committee to set the daily minimum wage at Bt360 from April 1 onwards. However, the Labour Ministry has insisted that all pleas from relevant parties be considered before the Central Wage Committee can make its final decision next month. 

Meanwhile, Visit Limlurcha, vice president of the Thai National Shippers’ Council and president of the Thai Food Processors’ Association, said Thailand should focus more on skill development instead of increasing the minimum daily wage. 

“For instance, masons earn nearly Bt1,000 a day – far more than what a man who carries bags of cement gets. That’s one way of increasing workers’ wages,” he said. 

Sanan also suggested that relevant state agencies should discuss plans to boost daily wages with the private sector at least one year ahead of implementation, because it affects their cost of operations. 

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