Technical snag delays wage hike decision

Technical snag delays wage hike decision

New committee yet to receive cabinet nod

Labour Minister Adul Sangsingkeo still hasn't received the list of new members of the National Wage Committee, further delaying talks and decisions on minimum-wage hikes. (Photo provided)
Labour Minister Adul Sangsingkeo still hasn't received the list of new members of the National Wage Committee, further delaying talks and decisions on minimum-wage hikes. (Photo provided)

A proposed increase in the daily minimum wage will not materialise this year due to "technical" issues, labour sources said Thursday.

The national wage committee postponed its meetings twice this month, said the source close to the workers' representatives.

The last meeting of the committee, scheduled on Dec 18, was put off indefinitely, meaning the issue would have to wait until after the New Year holidays.

Labour networks recently proposed to the committee that it increase the minimum wage for unskilled labour to 360 baht per day across the board from the current rate of 305-310 baht, depending on the economic health of the province concerned.

The wage committee, chaired by the labour permanent secretary, usually concludes the hike in November and forwards its decision to the cabinet for acknowledgement.

The labour minister then signs a directive on the new wage which takes effect on Jan 1 the next year.

According to another source, the postponement of the meeting was possibly due to some technical issues, since the wage committee, which was selected in August this year, has yet to be approved by the cabinet.

The source said former labour minister Gen Sirichai Distakul was verifying the qualifications of the new members when he suddenly stepped down early last month.

The list of new committee members is yet to be submitted to the new labour minister, Pol Gen Adul Sangsingkeo, for consideration.

An employers' representative on Thursday said he doubted that the new wage committee would be allowed to consider the proposed hike.

"The panel was selected in August and it has yet to be endorsed. If they want the previous panel to serve in an acting capacity and do the job, it's fine," he said.

However, a source close to the Labour Ministry said the provincial wage committees could not agree on the increase with the employers and the workers held firm to their demands.

The source said the provincial committees came up with two figures, prompting the authorities concerned to refer the matter back to them, asking them to come up with an agreed sum.

"Negotiations have been tougher than in previous years. They wouldn't compromise. If we put it to a vote, the employees always lose," said the member.

In some provinces the employers and the workers have refused to attend the meetings because they could not reach a compromise, according to the source.

Meanwhile, Labour permanent secretary Jarin Chakkaphark  promised to hold the meeting of the committee as soon as possible. The national wage committee is authorised to consider and rule on increases proposed by the provincial committees. Criteria for consideration include inflation rates, costs of living, and overall economic condition of the provinces.

The daily minimum wage of 300 baht is adopted in eight provinces, while in the other provinces, it ranges from 305 to 310 baht.

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