Group urges wages based on skills
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Group urges wages based on skills

Workers at a construction site in Bangkok. Apichart Jinakul
Workers at a construction site in Bangkok. Apichart Jinakul

The Labour Ministry is being asked to consider replacing the proposed 400-baht daily minimum wage policy with a wage increase based on workers' skills, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The proposal for payment based on skills would be higher than 400 baht per day for certain skilled workers, said Isares Rattanadilok Na Phuket, vice-chairman of the FTI.

The wages for skilled workers would range from 420-530 baht per day for employees in the car and auto parts industries, while workers in the electronics and telecom sectors can earn between 455 and 520 baht a day.

The federation is in talks with labour officials to jointly promote this approach, which considers workers' education, work experience and special training.

"The FTI is discussing the issue with the Department of Skill Development to consider applying the pay-by-skill proposal to what we call 'old industries'," said Mr Isares.

He said old industries refer to those long established in Thailand, including production of internal combustion engines, steel, furniture and shoes.

"We believe wages paid using this proposal will directly benefit skilled workers because the 400-baht minimum wage policy is too broad, covering migrant workers," said Mr Isares.

Roughly 2.6-3 million workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia come to work in Thailand, often doing dirty, dangerous and difficult jobs that Thais are unwilling or unable to do.

Many migrant workers spend only 50% of their earnings in Thailand, sending the remainder to their home countries, according to the FTI.

"If there are more workers, especially Thais, under the pay-by-skill concept, the government can help reduce costs by testing their skills," he said.

Workers in the automotive industry are typically charged between 1,000 and 2,000 baht a day for skills testing, according to the federation.

The FTI reiterated its call for the government to base any wage increase on workers' skills and the economy of each province.

The federation also wants new measures to restore the economy, which is struggling with weak purchasing power and the effects of geopolitical conflicts.

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