7.8% earn less than 1,687 a month, wages behind inflation and productivity, labour shortage as wages catch up.
LABOUR: NESDB: Wage lags behind inflation by Chatrudee Theparat
The daily minimum wage has advanced more slowly over the past decade than the average inflation rate, and 7.8% of Thais remain under the poverty line, says the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).
Statistics show the minimum wage rose by 2.3% annually during that period, with inflation outpacing that at 2.8%.
The wage hikes have barely covered labourers' living expenses. There has never been any hope of lifting their living standards.
Currently, labourers' average 205 baht a day - 176 baht as the minimum wage and 29 baht from social allowances.
The NESDB said this lags far behind the cost of living - food, rent, utilities and health care.
These workers can never hope to afford a home loan, let alone entertainment and recreation expenditures.
Secretary-general Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the real minimum wage has increased by about 1% per year on average, while productivity rose by 2.8%. "A labour shortage is looming at all levels, both skilled and unskilled, as economic improvements and growth help to change workers' outlooks for the better," said Mr Arkhom.
Unemployment in this year's second quarter dropped to 0.56% from 1.3% in the same period last year, while the employment figure increased by 1.5% year-on-year.
Mr Arkhom said if the Yingluck Shinawatra administration and private employers want to push the proposed 300-baht daily minimum wage, then more work hours and chances for overtime should be allowed.
As well, allowances for travel, meals and clothing should be increased above the present average of 29 baht a day, he said.
"The government should offer small entrepreneurs some incentives to encourage them to increase the minimum they pay, and these incentives should especially be forthcoming in the major provinces. Long-term, the government must do its part to restructure the production system to incorporate higher technology," said Mr Arkhom.
The government think-tank also reported another 5 million people risk falling below the poverty line in the event of a new economic crisis or severe natural disaster.
Last year, 5.08 million people or 7.8% of the population were officially classified as poor and had monthly incomes of 1,687 baht or less.
The NESDB said the poor have only grown poorer as the income gap widened over the past 20 years.
Statistics show the incomes of the 20% wealthiest Thais are 11 times higher than those of the 20% poorest.
(Source: Bangkok Post, NESDB: Wage lags behind inflation, 30/08/2011, Chatrudee Theparat, link)
Labour Economics Vocabulary
wage - an amount of money that you earn for working, usually according to how many hours or days you work each week or month ค่าจ้าง
daily minimum wage - the smallest amount of money that can be paid to a worker for one day of work (See Wikipedia)
lags - is behind others, is slow, happens after a delay ล้าหลัง
wage lags behind inflation - the money workers are paid buys less and less goods (prices of goods increasing faster than worker pay)
inflation - the level of prices rising in the economy as a whole (See Wikipedia and The Economist glossary) ภาวะเงินเฟ้อ
inflation rate - the rate at which all prices in the economy are increasing (See Economist Glossary) อัตราเงินเฟ้อ
catch up - when you are behind something or someone, moving faster to reach the same level
wages catch up with inflation - wages moving faster to reach teh same level as inflation (wages lag behind, but then catch up)
poverty - the condition of being poor ความจน
the poverty line - below this income and a person is poor (the income used to define "poor")
under the poverty line - the person is poor (according to the definition, some might argue that the "poverty line" is set too low and that even more people are "poor")
National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) - ("Sa-pa-pat"), National Economic and Social Development Board, Thailand's state planning agency that makes long-term plans for economic development, creates five year plans with an agenda of: 1. Alleviation of Poverty and Income Distribution problems, 2. Enhancing Thailand’s Competitiveness, 3. Promoting Social Capital Development, 4. Promoting Sustainable Development (See Wikipedia)
real minimum wage - the minimum wage adjusted for inflation (so that wages can be compared over time)
productivity - producing more for the same amount of resources (labour, capital, machines)
shortage - when there is not enough of something การขาดแคลน
looming - likely to happen soon ที่เห็นลางๆ
labour shortage is looming - a labour shortage is likely to happen soon
outlook - what is likely to happen in the future
change workers' outlooks for the better - the future of workers will probably be better
unemployment - the percentage of the work force who don't have jobs (but want a job and are looking)
decade - a period of ten years ทศวรรษ, ระยะเวลา 10 ปี
annually - every year ทุกๆปีด
X outpacing Y - X going faster than Y
barely - almost not happening แทบไม่เคยเกิดขึ้น
expenses - money that must be paid while doing some activity or task ค่าใช้จ่าย (example: the newspaper cut back on paper expenses by doing everything on the computer)
cover expenses - pay for expenses
rent - to pay money for the use of something for a period of time เช่า (here: rent for an apartment or house to live in)
utilities - the cost of electricity, water, garbage and other such services
cost of living - the everyday expenses of living such as food, rent, utilities and health care, the cost of maintaining a certain "standard of living" (See Wikipedia)
lags far behind the cost of living - is far behind the cost of living
living expenses - same as "cost of living"
barely covered labourers' living expenses - enough for everday living expenses (with nothing remaining after these expenses were paid)
standards - an acceptable level of quality or achievement มาตรฐาน
living standards - standard of living, "the level of wealth, comfort, material goods and necessities available to a certain socioeconomic class in a certain geographic area. The standard of living includes factors such as income, quality and availability of employment, class disparity, poverty rate, quality and affordability of housing, hours of work required to purchase necessities, gross domestic product, inflation rate, number of vacation days per year, affordable (or free) access to quality healthcare, quality and availability of education, life expectancy, incidence of disease, cost of goods and services, infrastructure, national economic growth, economic and political stability, political and religious freedom, environmental quality, climate and safety. The standard of living is closely related to quality of life" (See Wikipedia)
lifting living standards - raising living standards, making the standard or quality of life better
As well, ... - in addition, additionally ...
allowances - money given to people to help them pay for the things they need.
allowances for travel
allowances for meals
allowances for clothing
afford - to have enough money to be able to pay for something มีเงินพอจับจ่าย ซื้อหา มีเงิน/ทุนพอ
loan - an amount of money that a person, business, or country borrows, especially from a bank เงินกู้
home loan - a loan to buy a house or apartment (usually a loan from a bank)
afford a home loan - have enough money to pay for a home loan
not X let alone Y -
recreation expenditures - money spent for activities outside of work (in a person's free time, including trips to places, parties with friends, family activities, etc)
second quarter - the 4th, 5th and 6th months of the year
employment - having a paid job
figure - an amount จำนวน
employment figure - employment statistic (number of jobs available in the economy)
year-on-year - the amount for a period this year compared to the same period last year
administration - one government that a country has for a period of time
the Yingluck Shinawatra administration - Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's administration
employers - organizations (both companies and government) that hire workers
private employers - companies that hire workers
proposed - suggested (but not yet chosen or decided upon)
proposed 300-baht daily minimum wage
overtime - extra hours worked beyond normal hours (with extra pay)
chances for overtime - opportunities for working more hours for extra pay
entrepreneurs - business people เจ้าของกิจการ
incentives - giving a reward for acting in a certain way รางวัล ผลตอบแทน
encourage - cause someone to gain enthusiasm, motivation, and energy in what they are doing, to make someone more likely to do something ปลุกใจ
forthcoming - happening or coming soon ที่กำลังจะมาถึง
everyone must do their part - meaning: in a group activity, everyone must help (cannot be lazy and let other people do all the work)
the government must do its part - meaning: the government has things that it must do in the programme or project (a role, responsibilities)
restructure - to organise something such as a company in a different way so that it will operate better ปรับโครงสร้างใหม่
incorporate - to add or include something as part of something else
think-tank - an organization that does research for other organizations, companies and the government (See Wikipedia)
risk - the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen ความเสี่ยง
risk falling below the poverty line - the danger that a person or family will become poor
in the event of Y - if event or situation Y happens
crisis - an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation วิกฤต วิกฤตการณ์ ช่วงวิกฤต
economic crisis - when the economy and business slowdown (a dangerous and difficult situation)
severe - very serious and unpleasant รุนแรง
natural - found in nature (not made in a factory by humans) ตามธรรมชาติ
disaster - something very bad that happens and causes a lot of damage or kills a lot of people ความหายนะ ภัยพิบัติ
natural disaster - an event such as a tsunami, earthquake, bad storm, flooding, etc that causes a lot of damage and harm
severe - very serious and worrying ที่รุนแรง ที่น่าเป็นห่วง
severe natural disaster - very serious natural disaster
population - all the people who live in one country, area or place กลุ่มที่อาศัยอยู่ในบริเวณหนึ่ง
income - money that people receive from work or some other source, used for household consumption and savings
gap - a large difference between people or groups ช่องว่าง
income gap - a difference in income (here: between the rich and the poor)
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