Slowing economy dims outlook for minimum-wage hike

Slowing economy dims outlook for minimum-wage hike

“It would be very difficult to do a wage increase at all” if the economy is “looking bad
“It would be very difficult to do a wage increase at all” if the economy is “looking bad", Labour Minister MR Chatu Mongol says. (Bangkok Post photo)

The government’s pledge to boost the country’s minimum wage is foundering because of an economic slowdown.

US-China trade tension and its impact on Thailand is one of the risks to monitor, according to Labour Minister Chatu Mongol Sonakul. An official report due Monday may show economic growth slowed to a near five-year low of 2.2%, Siam Commercial Bank estimates.

“It would be very difficult to do a wage increase at all” if the economy is “looking bad,” MR Chatu Mongol, a former Bank of Thailand governor, said in an interview on Wednesday. At the same time, he said wages need to climb in principle to improve the country’s outlook.

Thailand last year boosted the national minimum wage for the first time since 2013, to as much as 330 baht in some areas. The elected coalition government that last month replaced the country’s junta pledged another increase in its policy statement.

About 4 million people live on minimum wages, MR Chatu Mongol said. Business lobbies have called for a delay in any increase because poor economic conditions are already pressuring companies.


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