Government urged to mull host of wage hike factors

Government urged to mull host of wage hike factors

The new government is being urged to take into account various factors, including the country's competitiveness and ability to attract foreign investment, when deciding on a hike in the daily minimum wage.

Thosaporn Sirisamphand, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), said the wage increase should be based on economic indicators and cost-of-living standards.

Many countries have used the poverty line as one of the criteria.

"Productivity is one of the significant factors used to gauge the minimum wage adjustment, as well as demand and supply of the labour market," Mr Thosaporn said, cautioning that the hike shouldn't harm the overall economy.

According to Mr Thosaporn, the daily minimum wage should be for unskilled workers who are newcomers to the labour market, allowing them to have sufficient income for everyday life.

The minimum wage should also apply to workers aged 15 and older with less than a high school education and no work experience, he said.

Mr Thosaporn suggested the formation of a working committee to consider the minimum wage, with employers, employees and academics represented.

Wage hikes are currently vetted by a tripartite committee based largely on the consumer price index, overall Thai GDP and the GDP of each province. The committee represents employers, employees and the government.

According to the NESDC survey of employment in the first quarter, there were 2.5 million employees on an income of less than 308-330 baht per day. Most were in the agriculture, beverage, retail, wholesale and construction sectors.

Total employees in the private sector amounted to 15.82 million or 15.8% of the total 37.7 million employed in the first quarter this year.

For the first quarter, the NESDC reported that total wages rose 2% from the year-earlier period, led by the private sector, up 3.3% year-on-year.

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