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Minimum wage: Employer dirty tricks to avoid it

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Pheu Thai party's flagship policy of raising minimum wage for whole country already stopped in its tracks by employer "dirty tricks." 



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MINIMUM WAGE

Employers side-step pay hike

14/05/2012
Penchan Charoensuthipan

Labour groups say workers are being ripped off by employers after the 300-baht minimum wage policy was introduced and have called on the Pheu Thai Party to rectify the situation.

Employers were resorting to "dirty tricks" to avoid paying employees the new minimum wage, Thai Labour Reconciliation Committee head Chalee Loysung said. Since the new wage was introduced on April 1, the committee has received 73 complaints from workers who said their employers refused to comply with the wage policy.

The companies calculate the amounts of welfare given to the workers and combine them with their old wage to create a new wage that exceeds the 300 baht rate, Mr Chalee told a recent forum attended by labour leaders to discuss the issue in Bangkok.

He said the problem was particularly common among garment, furniture and restaurant businesses.

At some companies, workers who received more than 300 baht a day before April 1 had their wages cut after the policy was launched. The firms used the money saved from the cut to pay other lesser-paid workers to meet the wage policy.

The new minimum wage is in effect in Phuket, Bangkok and surrounding provinces which have high costs of living and large industries. The new minimum wage will be implemented in the rest of the country on Jan 1 next year.

Mr Chalee said some businesses, including those in electronics manufacturing, laid off workers before April 1 so they would not have to meet severance payments based on the new wage.

He said even union leaders were sacked or were not given overtime.

Mr Chalee insisted the Pheu Thai Party must take responsibility for its flagship policy, which has been sidestepped by some employers.

"The party must address the problems and straighten them out for the affected workers," he said.

Yongyuth Mentaphao, chairman of the Thai Autoworkers Federation, said he expects the Jan 1 wage hike for the rest of the country to unleash more problems for workers.

He said the government must prepare for the consequences that might arise. He said the new wage will help reduce economic disparities.

"The workers should not be left to fend for themselves under pressure from the employers," Mr Yongyuth said

He said the Pheu Thai Party had touted its wage hike platform during the previous election and "now the politicians must take care of the workers

Wisut Ruengrit, of the Federation of Thailand Automotive Workers Unions, said wage hikes in the automotive industry varied. Some introduced a new pay scale only for the lesser-paid workers. Others gave a larger percentage of the increment to entry-level workers than that given to senior workers.

Chaloey Chombulan, of the Garment Workers' Federation, said some companies cut back on welfare as early as April 1.

(Source: Bangkok Post, MINIMUM WAGE, Employers side-step pay hike, 14/05/2012, Penchan Charoensuthipan, link

Minimum Wage Policy 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
minimum  wage - the smallest amount of money that can legally be paid to a worker for their work (See Wikipedia)

300-baht daily minimum wage
policy - the new Pheu Thai Party policy for a 300 baht a day minimum wage nationwide
policy - a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย (See Wikipedia)
nationwide - all over the country, everywhere in the country

pay hike - increase in wages that workers receive
sidestep - go or step around some object blocking your path

Employers side-step pay hike

union - an organization that negotiates higher wages, benefits and better working conditions for workers (See Wikipedia)
union leaders  
labour groups - Same as "union"  plus some other organizations

rip off (verb) - steal
a rip off
(noun) - theft, stealing things, taking things from other people that do not belong to you 

employers
- companies that hire workers
introduce policy - start a new policy

rectify - correct
rectify the situation -
made a bad situation good, correct things that are wrong in a situation 

Labour groups say workers are being ripped off by employers after the 300-baht minimum wage policy was introduced and have called on the Pheu Thai Party to rectify the situation.

dirty tricks - breaking the rules, not following the rules of the game, not acting ethically, "unethical, duplicitous, slanderous or illegal tactics employed to destroy or diminish the effectiveness of political or business opponents. The term "dirty trick" can also be used to refer to an underhanded technique to get ahead of an opponent (such as sabotage or disregarding rules of engagement)" (See Wikipedia)

resort to -
do something to succeed (when everything else has failed, desperate, last resort)
resorting to dirty tricks

complaints - when people say there is something wrong and they want it changed
comply - to obey a rule or a law การปฏิบัติตามกฎ
comply with policy - follow policy 

Employers were resorting to "dirty tricks" to avoid paying employees the new minimum wage, Thai Labour Reconciliation Committee head Chalee Loysung said. Since the new wage was introduced on April 1, the committee has received 73 complaints from workers who said their employers refused to comply with the wage policy.

calculate - to discover a number or amount using mathematics คำนวน
welfare - 1. special things such as medical insurance given to employees in addition to their salary or wages สวัสดิภาพ; 2. living in good conditions (with health, wealth, and happiness)  ความสะดวกสบาย, ความมีสุขภาพดี

forum - a place where people can express their ideas and opinions, and debate issues การประชุมแสดงความคิดเห็น
issue - a problem that needs to be considered; a subject that people discuss or argue about ประเด็น

The companies calculate the amounts of welfare given to the workers and combine them with their old wage to create a new wage that exceeds the 300 baht rate, Mr Chalee told a recent forum attended by labour leaders to discuss the issue in Bangkok.

common - happens often, exists often, seen often
particularly common - very common

garment - clothes
wages - the amount of money earned per hour by a worker

launch - start เริ่มต้นดำเนินการ
launch policy - start a new policy

He said the problem was particularly common among garment, furniture and restaurant businesses. At some companies, workers who received more than 300 baht a day before April 1 had their wages cut after the policy was launched. The firms used the money saved from the cut to pay other lesser-paid workers to meet the wage policy.

surrounding - all around a place บริเวณรอบๆ
Bangkok and surrounding provinces

implement - when a plan is put into action, actually doing the things in a plan
implement policy - making a policy work

The new minimum wage is in effect in Phuket, Bangkok and surrounding provinces which have high costs of living and large industries. The new minimum wage will be implemented in the rest of the country on Jan 1 next year.

severance - the act of ending a worker's employment
severance payments - money given by a company to an employee when his job ends (laid off and no longer employed)

Mr Chalee said some businesses, including those in electronics manufacturing, laid off workers before April 1 so they would not have to meet severance payments based on the new wage.

sacked - fired (losing your job)
overtime - extra hours worked beyond normal hours (with extra pay)

He said even union leaders were sacked or were not given overtime.

insisted
- say firmly that something must happen or is true, and will not change mind

responsibility
- 1. having to take care of some task as part of your job; 2. being blamed for something that goes wrong, 2.
take responsibility - being given the task of taking care of or doing something in your job (achieving some goal) 

flagship
- in an organization, the most important thing in a group of things (for example: flagship company, flagship publication) (See glossary) ที่เป็นตัวนำ ที่สำคัญที่สุด
flagship policy - the most important policy of a political party  

Mr Chalee insisted the Pheu Thai Party must take responsibility for its flagship policy, which has been sidestepped by some employers.

address problem - to deal with and solve a problem จัดการปัญหา
straighten out problem - solve the problem

"The party must address the problems and straighten them out for the affected workers," he said.

unleash - to release suddenly a strong, uncontrollable and usually destructive force ปล่อย
unleash more problems

Yongyuth Mentaphao, chairman of the Thai Autoworkers Federation, said he expects the Jan 1 wage hike for the rest of the country to unleash more problems for workers.

consequences - the things that happen as a result of a decision or event; results of some actions or events
consequences that might arise - events that might happen after some event happens
disparities - differences
economic disparities - differences in the income and money that different people have in an economy
reduce economic disparities - reduce differences in incomes and wealth (the money that people get and have in an economy) 

He said the government must prepare for the consequences that might arise. He said the new wage will help reduce economic disparities.

fend for themselves - must solve their own problems and look after themselves (no help from others)
under pressure - when people are being pushed or forced to so something

"The workers should not be left to fend for themselves under pressure from the employers," Mr Yongyuth said

tout - advertise something (make something known to all and say how good it is)
platform - an area next to a railway track where passengers get onto and off trains ชานชาลา
wage hike platform - the policy of a political party that it uses to get votes during an election
election - the process of choosing a person or a group of person for a position, especially by voting elect (v) electoral (adj) synonym: the polls การเลือกตั้ง

He said the Pheu Thai Party had touted its wage hike platform during the previous election and "now the politicians must take care of the workers." 

pay scale - a list of wages or salaries to be paid to workers at a certain level in the company or doing a certain job
increment - an increase (the difference between the new and the old amount)
entry-level workers - the first job that workers get in a company (before they are promoted to higher positions, if they do well)
senior workers - workers who have worked at a company for a long time

Wisut Ruengrit, of the Federation of Thailand Automotive Workers Unions, said wage hikes in the automotive industry varied. Some introduced a new pay scale only for the lesser-paid workers. Others gave a larger percentage of the increment to entry-level workers than that given to senior workers. Chaloey Chombulan, of the Garment Workers' Federation, said some companies cut back on welfare as early as April 1.

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