FTI chairman Payungsak insists he will never resign

Despite mounting pressure, Federation of Thai Industries chairman Payungsak Chartsutipol yesterday insisted he will never resign.

FTI members are due to call a general meeting next week in which a proposal to vote him out of the chairmanship is expected to be high on the agenda.

"I have good intentions to work for the public and help the business community," said Mr Payungsak.

Some FTI members, particularly those from labour-intensive sectors, recently vowed to press ahead to remove Mr Payungsak from the chairmanship of Thailand's largest private sector organisation.

Some members accuse Mr Payungsak of not being active enough in pressing the government to delay its plan to raise the daily minimum wage to 300 baht nationwide on Jan 1.

Last week, the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking submitted a letter to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra asking for a delay to the wage increase.

The private sector wants the government to accelerate setting up a committee to study the wage hike's potential effects.

Thailand has 2.9 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) generating 3.7 trillion baht or 37% of the country's 10-trillion-baht gross domestic product.

However, the cabinet on Tuesday approved the daily minimum wage increase.

Mr Payungsak said the FTI on Tuesday submitted its proposals to alleviate the wage hike's impact on SMEs.

SMEs are also being urged to group into a cluster to mitigate higher production costs from the wage increase and energy.

Sutapa Amornvivat, chief economist and executive vice-president of Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), said the cluster will enhance not only the purchasing power of businesses but also the development of products and services.

She said the wage increase will directly affect agricultural products along with the construction, retail and hotel sectors.

It will also indirectly affect the food and beverage and automotive sectors.

An SCB customer survey showed production costs of SMEs will increase by 12% on average.

Ms Sutapa said the shortage of skilled labour in many industrial sectors will become a bigger problem than production costs.

About the author

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Writer: Yuthana Praiwan
Position: Business Reporter