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Raising Wages and allowing Workers a Life!

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We've just finished picking our longan crop, paying the Burmese pickers 300 baht a day.


For 30 years I have maintained a home in a village 30 kilometres north of Chiang Mai. I have watched a multitude of relatives grow up, maintain jobs, see their children through college and obtain good work positions.

After the 1998 law change, my Thai-American wife was able to register our home and rice fields in her name (before, her sister had this responsibility).

In the past year or two, the number of red licence plates has become more and more noticeable. Construction is seen going on everywhere. Our cousin builders are continuously booked at a typical 475 baht a day, with their crews paid 300-350 baht a day.

We’ve just finished picking our longan crop, paying the Burmese pickers 300 baht a day.

So what is all the crying about the new 300-baht minimum wage proposal? Much of the construction labour is performed by registered Burmese workers. Their children all go to public schools from start, through and including college. Medical treatment is free at county facilities. In fact, even I am included as a ”guest resident” (US) for free, if I wanted or needed medical attention.

Try that in the United States! As a US veteran, I could get sub-standard treatment in a US VA hospital. Incidentally a Florida hospital quoted $15,000 for a gall bladder operation that was performed in Chiang Mai for $1,475 (before the free policy).

If rich and/or greedy Thais and foreigners all cry that they can’t afford to pay a semi-living wage, then let them improve their work and cost environment.

I love retirement here! No floods, landslides, tornados _ and a multitude of super stores and plazas to spend my monthly 65,000 baht and 3.5-baht/kw air-conditioning power.

LOONG SAM Chiang Mai

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