Despite 53% wage hike, construction workers mark Labor Day with gripes over low pay

Friday, 10 May 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 19 By  Vittaya Yoondorn

Despite seeing their wages rise 53 percent in the past year, Pattaya-area construction workers marked Labor Day 2013 with continued grumbles about low pay.

The itinerant laborers say that the increase in Thailand’s minimum wage from 196 baht on March 30, 2012 to 300 baht per day April 1 this year hasn’t translated into easier lives. They still must contend with employers who defer wages, deduct rent at shabby construction camps and extensive overtime hours, just to make ends meet.

Laborers, some shown here improving the diminishing beach landscape for the May Day celebration, say 300 baht a day is still not enough for them to make ends meet in today’s ever changing economy.Laborers, some shown here improving the diminishing beach landscape for the May Day celebration, say 300 baht a day is still not enough for them to make ends meet in today’s ever changing economy.

Ekachai Lainamthong, 48, a construction foreman, said laborers are an important cog in Thailand’s economic machine. He hoped construction workers annually would receive a paid Labor Day holiday on May 1 and that Ministry of Labor officials will continue to ensure that employers pay the legal minimum wage.

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3 comments

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 14 May 2013 18:31 posted by kev

    No wonder crime is so high....

  • Comment Link Monday, 13 May 2013 06:31 posted by Bob

    John, note the phrase "itinerant laborers."

  • Comment Link Saturday, 11 May 2013 08:33 posted by John Le Fevre

    The comments from Khun Ekachai are a concern as the Thailand employment Act says employees are entitled to 13 paid public holidays each year but chosen from a list of 16 holidays published by the Thai government and that must includes the National Labor Day.

    If these workers are not getting the paid Labour Day holiday I imagine they are day labourers (informal workers) which make up 61% of the country's 39 million-strong workforce.

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