Daily Wages Tipped To Rise But Flat Rate ‘Unlikely’

Migrant Workers in Thailand

The tripartite national wage committee is expected to finalise a proposal calling for an increase in minimum daily wages in August but it is unlikely to approve a proposed flat-rate wage of 492 baht a day, said a top labour official.

Permanent secretary of labour Boonchob Suttamanaswong said the committee, which comprises labour, business and government representatives, has begun reviewing minimum wages and it is expected to reach a decision in August or September.

“We should know if the wages will be increased [soon]. I think the wages are likely to be raised, but by how much I have no idea. I’ll ask the committee to finish its consideration in August and forward it to the decision-makers,” he said.

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However, he said it is unlikely they would climb to a standard 492 baht nationwide as demanded by two labour groups.

Mr Boonchob said the national wage committee takes into consideration arguments from businesses and labour groups before reaching a conclusion.

In an open letter to the government ahead of Labour Day on May 1, the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) and the State Enterprises Workers’ Relations Confederation (SEWRC) had called for the new rate of 492 baht.

They said the last wage hikes were issued in January 2020, ranging from 313 baht to 336 baht.

Chon Buri and Phuket have the highest rate. The number drops to 335 baht in Rayong, and 331 baht in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. The lowest rate of 313 baht is in the southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala.

There has been no wage increase since the Covid-19 pandemic, which was also used as a reason by some businesses to lay off workers without paying them compensation, the groups said.

Despite state assistance, many workers have been unable to make ends meet and the situation looks grim due to the higher cost of living as the government has failed to control goods prices.

According to the TLSC and SEWRC, the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) proposed raising the minimum daily wage to 400-425 baht during the 2019 general election campaign but has yet to fulfil its campaign promise.

Based on a survey on workers’ monthly expenses, they have recently been spending an average of 6,581 baht on food and transportation and 14,771 baht on household expenses such as family support and utility bills. The workers would need a minimum daily wage of 712 baht to sustain themselves and their families, the report found.

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