AFG looks at the “minimum wage” conundrum

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The Automotive Focus Group (AFG), Thailand’s dedicated auto interest group centered on the Eastern Seaboard, held its annual general meeting at the Amari Orchid Resort last Friday.  Coming from a self-interest group sponsored by the Australian Chamber of Commerce Thailand a few years ago, the group now has 116 paid-up members and is a self sufficient stand-alone organization.

President James Beeson addressed the members and accepted the position as president for another year, and welcomed new members of the executive Tony Emmett, Ken Hinckley and Ramesh Ramanathan.

Supachai Manusphaibool.Supachai Manusphaibool.

Following the AGM there was a seminar on the “minimum wage” policy as promulgated by the new Yingluck Shinawatra Pheu Thai government.

As the ramifications of this new wage policy have not been well understood (or explained), the AFG arranged for the members to be addressed by Supachai Manusphaibool and Wasantachai Watanavongvisudhi in an attempt to clarify the future handling of this thorny question.

Supachai is the publisher of the monthly “Thai Labor Chronicle”, and before looking at the new minimum wages, he showed that it was first important to understand the various types of “wage” definitions between daily hire and monthly hire.  The different contacts could have wide-ranging effects on a company’s bottom line as some items were retrospective.

Adding to the potential for confusion was the fact that on April 1, 2012, the first increment comes into effect, but the increments may be different depending upon the province.  For example, Chonburi and Rayong have significant differences.  However, the first increment will be no more than a 40% increase over each province’s current daily wage.

The second increment comes into force on January 1, 2013, at which time all provinces should have the same B. 300 minimum (even though the cost of living scales may be different in the different provinces).

Wasantachai Watanavongvisudhi.Wasantachai Watanavongvisudhi.

The second speaker was Wasantachai, a partner of International Legal Counselors of Thailand, who went further into explaining the complexities of the Thai Labor Laws. Again the members received first hand explanations of the Labor Laws, and how there can be some laws taking precedent over others.

At the end, there were many questions from the floor by the AFG members, with some having traveled great distances just to hear the explanations given by the two speakers.

Those who are in the auto industry can get more details from the AFG secretariat [email protected]