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No adverse impacts on businesses from minimum wage hike, says expert

Dec 09. 2019
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By THE NATION

An increase in the minimum wage by Bt5 to Bt6 will neither hike the cost liability for entrepreneurs nor increase inflation, Anusorn Tamajai, the director of the Economic and Business Research Centre for Reform at Rangsit University's Institute of Economics, said yesterday (December 8).

“An increase in wage will not affect the purchasing power in the economic system,” he added. “However, the government should promote measures to help small firms that could be impacted by the burden of a higher wage bill. Besides, there should be a salary structure specified for those firms with over 50 employees as wage collateral.”

In addition, the director said that Thai entrepreneurs should use an hourly minimum wage system with a higher rate than the daily wage to help those who do not work full-time. “By this system, entrepreneurs can be more flexible in employment and cost management,” he added.

Moreover, he suggested that the government, employers, and skill improvement institutes should hasten to improve employees’ skills to cope with advanced technology in the future, as well as deal with the effects of using robots, Internet of Things, and 3D printing in the textile, clothing, shoes, electrical and electronic equipment and automotive industries.

The director said that according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s research, 44 per cent of working positions in Thailand will be substituted by automatic systems in the next 20 years. “Those who will be affected are store shopkeepers, service staffs, agricultural personnel, and low-skilled workers who do repetitious jobs,” he explained. “About 70 to 80 per cent of textiles, clothes and shoe industries will possibly be affected by the automatic system.

“An economic system designed to be less competitive is very important for stable politics and society,” he suggested. “It can help lessen the working hours of employees, while output and business profits do not decrease."

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