Employees, employers firmly opposed on wage rise
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Employees, employers firmly opposed on wage rise

Ministry shifts tune on minimum wage

Labour Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, centre, meets employees' representatives at his ministry on Monday morning. (Photo: Ministry of Labour)
Labour Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, centre, meets employees' representatives at his ministry on Monday morning. (Photo: Ministry of Labour)

Employee and employer representatives met with the labour minister on Monday and voiced opposing stances on a minimum wage increase ahead of Tuesday's tripartite committee meeting.

Representatives of the Thai Labour Solidarity Confederation and the State Enterprises Workers' Relations Confederation met Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn at the Labour Ministry at 8.30am on Monday.

They supported the government's decision last month to raise the daily minimum wage to 400 baht nationwide in October at upscale hotels and resorts in 10 provinces.

However, the employee representatives argued that the cost of living was rising nationwide, so the minimum wage should also increase nationwide.

Minister Pipat said that every party must understand that the 400-baht minimum wage might not be implemented nationwide as expected, but said he would fight for it.

He also said the government intended to further raise the daily minimum wage to 600 baht in 2027.

At 10am representatives of the Federation of Thai Industries, the Board of Trade of Thailand and small-and medium-sized enterprises met Mr Pipat to oppose the nationwide wage hike in October.

FTI vice president Suchart Chantaranakaracha said he had no idea how employers could afford the 400-baht nationwide rate, as the country's exports were weak.

He also said that tax incentives would be useless, because such a nationwide wage increase could put many businesses deeply in loss.

The tripartite wage committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday and the minimum wage will be on the  agenda. The committee comprises representatives of the government, employees and employers.

Speaking after the meeting, Labour permanent secretary Pairoj Chotikasathien said while most employers support the government's plan to increase the daily minimum wage increase to 400 baht, they don't believe it should be implemented nationwide. 

They were concerned that the higher wages would push up costs, which could cause problems especially with small and medium-sized enterprises, he said.

According to Mr Pairoj, the tripartite wage committee, which is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, will consider the matter thoroughly and review the daily minimum wage for workers in some sectors.

Mr Pairoj insisted that another minimum wage increase will be announced this year, but noted that it may not apply to all types of businesses.

The daily minimum wage was raised for all Thai workers on Jan 1 this year from 330 to 370 baht.

The second hike to 400 baht per day, which took effect on April 13, applies to workers in tourism-related businesses and those employed in four-star hotels with at least 50 employees in some areas in ten provinces.

Chanin Chalisarapong, a representative of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, on Monday urged the government to listen to all stakeholders when considering the wage increase, saying those who are not ready should not be forced to.

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