BANGKOK – Thai Labour Solidarity Committee, one of Thailand’s major labour organizations is up in arms over Thailand’s Labour Ministry’s proposed plan to abandon the country’s daily minimum wage in 2016.
The current minimum wage of 300 baht per day (about 9 dollars) applies to all 77 provinces across Thailand.
The wage is not in line with current labour market situation or inflation rate, Ministry of Labour permanent secretary Nakhon Silpa-archa told a seminar on minimum wage.
The ministry said it will determine an appropriate system to set the rate for minimum wage by October, the Bangkok Post reported.
The nationwide wage policy was decreed by Yingluck Shinawatra’s government in 2013 as part of her election campaign.
Prior to that, minimum wages varied based on each province’s standard cost of living, the rate in Bangkok and six other rich provinces was already set at 300 before 2013. However, in some provinces, the hike represents up to 70 per cent increase in minimum wage.
Mr. Nakhon Silpa-archa is now trying to blame the much needed wage hike of Yingluck Shinawatra’s Government for the current export slump Thailand is now facing. Yet in December, the military appointed cabinet approved a four per cent pay rise for the county’s 1.98 million civil servants, police, military personnel, teachers, and military cadets.
Thailand’s military-run government has also proposed a 2016 defence budget of THB207 billion (USD6.3 billion), a nominal increase of 7% over military spending in 2015. The 2016 defence budget will represent nearly 8% of the total state expenditure in the year. It also amounts to approximately 1.5% of GDP.
The Thai Labour Solidarity Committee, in March of this year called for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to increase the minimum wage to 360 baht from the current 300 baht per day.
Wilaiwan Sae Tia, president of the TLSC, said higher public utilities charges and rising food prices have increased the cost of living and placed a greater burden on workers.
To compensate for this, the daily labour minimum wage should be increased to 360 baht, she said.
Minimum Wages in Thailand averaged 126.76 THB/Day from 1973 until 2014, reaching an all time high of 300 THB/Day in 2012 and a record low of 12 THB/Day in 1973.
According to the Ministry of Labour there are more than 10 million Thais “employed” in the informal labour industry earning less than Bt6,000 ($180) per month.
Late last month Thailand’s Office of Industrial Economics (OIE) reported that industrial manufacturing in March broke a two-year record to reach 71 per cent of full capacity.
According to OIE Director Udom Wongviwatchai Thailand’s manufacturing production index (MPI) for 2015 could expand 3-4 per cent this year while 2015 Thailand industrial GDP could grow 2-3 per cent.