5.5 million workers entitled to Bt300/day minimum wage

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BANGKOK, Sept 6 – Some 5.5 million people working in factories, trade and services sectors are entitled to receive the government’s minimum wage of Bt300/day, according to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

The figure was disclosed to Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) chairman Payungsak Chartsuthipol in an informal discussion with ministry permanent secretary Somkiat Chayasriwong and Skill Development Department director-general Jiraporn Kesornsujarit.

FTI agreed with the wage rise, the chairman said, but informed the ministry it should have strategies affecting entrepreneurs the least, particularly small and medium-sized entreprises (SMEs), while asking the Labour Ministry to allow SMEs’ wage rise for tax deduction.

FTI also wanted the adjustment period of 3-4 years for the wage hike in order to adapt with the market mechanism. However, the labour ministry has not responded to this request.

The two organisations initially agreed to work together to prepare labour’s readiness with, for instance, an orientation for new workers and skill development training for existing workers, while increasing labour potential would be a medium-term strategy.

The Labour Ministry and FTI still differently define ‘income’, Mr Payungsak said.

The ministry views it as the daily wage, whereas FTI sees it should include other welfares offered to workers in regards to the earning.

As many entrepreneurs already provide some welfare to their workers, the chairman viewed they would face difficulties in adjusting the wage and did not agree if any existing welfare was to be cut.

Mr Payungsak added he would meet with new Labour Minister Phadermchai Sasomsab to congratulate him on his position and to acknowledge his working style with the private sector as well as the Bt300/day minimum wage policy.

Meanwhile, a recent survey by the Bangkok Poll Center of Bangkok University’s Research Institute on the government’s policy of  Bt 15000 salaries for new graduates found that 41 per cent of senior-level undergraduate students in the capital and its vicinity agreed with the policy but were not certain if it would be possible.

Twenty-nine per cent believed it would be possible, while 28 per cent believed otherwise.

Sixty-nine per cent said if the new salary policy becomes effective, private companies might open less job applications, resulting in difficulties in finding jobs and shorter period of employment.