Business bodies show the red flag to Pheu Thai’s minimum wage hike pledge
The Pheu Thai Party’s pledge to raise the daily minimum wage to 600 baht a day if it forms the government after the next election met with opposition from three leading business organisations on Wednesday.
Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), said the TCC, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), and the Thai Bankers’ Association (TBA) considered the current daily minimum wage as already suitable to the current economic situation of the country.
Sanan was speaking to reporters in his capacity as the chair of the joint standing committee of the TCC, FTI and TBA after the committee held a meeting on Wednesday. He was referring to a policy to hike the minimum wage announced by Pheu Thai Family Project leader and likely PM nominee Paetongtarn Shinawatra on Tuesday.
During a caucus held to kick off Pheu Thai’s election campaigns, Paetongtarn said if Pheu Thai won the general election next year, the party-led government would increase daily minimum wage to 600 baht by 2027.
Sanan said the joint committee believes the current minimum wage should not be raised as Thailand’s economy has not fully recovered from the impact of Covid-19.
Moreover, he said, the joint committee thinks that daily minimum wage rates should vary in different parts of the country, in accordance with the considerations of the provincial wage committees and tripartite national wage committee by taking into account workers’ living cost, inflation rate and the consumer price index.
Currently, the daily minimum wage rates vary from 328 to 354 baht depending on the province.
Sanan said if the next government increases the daily minimum wage to 600 baht nationwide, businesses would see their costs go up by almost 70 per cent, although the increase might be gradually implemented.
He said the businesses might not be able to cope with rising cost and many SMEs might have to shut down.
Sanan said the next government should focus on development of labour skills because when workers have high skills, their wages or salaries would automatically be higher.
He warned that any wage increase would also affect Thailand’s competitiveness.