SATURDAY, March 02, 2024

Srettha slams proposed daily wage hike, urges businesses to pay more

Srettha slams proposed daily wage hike, urges businesses to pay more

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin expressed his dissatisfaction with “too small increases” in the minimum daily wages as suggested by a tripartite committee.

Srettha said on Saturday that he would vote against these proposed rates when the Labour Ministry brings the matter to the Cabinet for endorsement.

While uncertain whether the proposal would reach the Cabinet at its next meeting on Tuesday, the premier called for a review of the suggested new rates, emphasising the need for further discussions with the panel to determine an “appropriate” minimum wage rate.

The tripartite committee on minimum daily wage resolved on Friday to set the new rates from January 1 at between 330 and 370 baht based on the province of employment. This is slightly higher than the current 328-354 baht rate.

The committee is comprised of representatives from the business, labour and government sectors.

Srettha, who also doubles as finance minister, said the proposed raises of 2-16 baht were “very small” compared to the rising cost of living. He said this was a matter of “big concern” for him as his government was taking various measures to help people cut their expenditures.

“Millions of people still rely on their daily wages, and the rise of just 2-7 baht in some provinces is too little,” he said.

The prime minister called on businesses to consider paying workers more than the proposed rates, pointing out that businesses also benefited from government measures such as reduced electricity prices.

“It’s time to reflect on improving workers’ quality of life. Don’t let Thai labourers be second or third-class citizens of the world,” Srettha said.

The prime minister also voiced displeasure at the proposed 2-baht increase for workers in the southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat. The rate in these provinces has been increased from 328 baht to 330 baht.

“I don’t know why the increase is just 2 baht, it’s not even enough to buy an egg. I’m very unhappy with this,” he said.
“We will talk with the tripartite committee again after the holidays. One of this government’s key policies involves raising minimum daily wages,” he said.

The premier added that the minimum daily wage should ideally rise to 400 baht in major provinces, dismissing concerns that higher wages would deter large manufacturers from investing in the country.

“Not at all. That’s only rhetoric. Nobody will shift [their factories] because daily wages have been raised from 300 to 400. This is because the government offers good tax incentives and the country has top healthcare and educational systems, as well as well-developed infrastructure,” he said.