Government 'gifts' workers a higher wage

Government 'gifts' workers a higher wage

Labour Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn on Friday confirmed a second rise in the minimum wage to 400 baht per day for some professions and provinces, which he said is a Songkran gift for Thais.

Mr Phiphat said next Tuesday, the terms of the new hike would go before a government sub-committee, which will forward it along with their own revisions to the full committee the same day.

The wage sub-committee in each province will then decide which occupations will be eligible for the increased sum, he said.

The provinces where no pay rise is approved will have to continue using the same rate announced last year, he said.

Mr Phiphat also asked those who think the rise is unlikely to materialise not to underestimate his ministry, saying he will do his best to push for it.

However, implementation of the new 400-baht wage would be limited in some provinces to avoid damage to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which hire about 80% of the country's workforce, said the minister.

He said without the planned restrictions, 30% of the labour force, or 6 million workers, would be made unemployed, which the Ministry of Labour would be unable to deal with.

He added that the increase will instead come gradually, with the government aiming to make the 400-baht minimum daily pay payment applicable everywhere by the end of the year, with the hope to see further rises to 600 baht by 2027.

The move came after the Thai Labour Solidarity Confederation, the Migrant Workers Rights Network, and the State Enterprises Workers' Relations Confederation criticised the government on Tuesday for imposing the 330-to-370-baht minimum daily wage, saying it failed to do as it promised during its electoral campaigns.

The three groups are calling for a national minimum rate of 492 baht, citing the increase in prices of goods and services.

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