SMEs under pressure after nationwide wage hike

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BANGKOK, Sept 6 – Ninety per cent of Thailand’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be affected by the countrywide increase of the daily minimum wage to Bt300, tentatively scheduled for launch next January, a prominent academic said today.

Rector Saowanee Thairungroj of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said the Bt300 daily minimum wage approved by the National Wage Committee Wednesday pending Cabinet approval, will lead to higher rates of consumption for those workers receiving the higher wages.

Other may well lose their jobs, if employers feel they can’t afford the higher salaries.

The private sector wants the government to strengthen the skills and efficiency of the Thai labour pool, she said, adding that SMEs have requested the government’s assistance in pushing for financial liquidity and realistic commodity prices instead of the state intervention given the higher wage and oil price.

Kobkarn Wattanavarangkul, chairperson of Toshiba Thailand, said the minimum wage rise will compel most entrepreneurs to turn to machinery and new innovations in their productions.