B300 wage to be scrapped next year

B300 wage to be scrapped next year

The 300-baht national daily minimum wage will be scrapped next year, to be replaced by the old system where wages vary by each province based on the cost of living.

The rate will take effect until the end of this year, Labour Ministry permanent secretary Nakhon Silpa-archa was quoted by Thai media as saying at a seminar of wage committee members on Friday.

It remains undecided whether the daily minimum wage will be higher but the Wage Committee decided on Dec 8, 2014 to reinstate the old regime where wages vary by the cost of living and the economy of each province, he said. 

"The ministry is studying the feasibility of floating wages and an appropriate way to set the rates," he said.

The change will increase Thailand's competitiveness and employment rates, said Mr Nakorn, adding it would also improve the living conditions of workers and reduce wage disparities. Employees will have to improve their skills and productivity, the key factors determining wages and incomes.

For 2016, the provincial wage committees were asked to study and propose the minimum wages, to be considered at a national meeting in October.

A guideline for 2016 will also be used as a standard for the following years.

The Thai Labour Solidarity Committee proposed in late March that the minimum wage be increased to 360 baht a day after a 2015 survey found the cost of living of workers almost doubled from 2013.

The 300-baht minimum wage, a more than 100% increase for workers in some provinces, was one of the election campaigns of the Yingluck Shinawatra government. Taking effect in 2013, it drew substantial resistance from employers who claimed it undermined the country's competitiveness. The hike was also blamed for the current export slump Thailand is now facing.

The Yingluck government defended the move, saying the wage had not been revised for several years and was out of sync with the cost of living. It helped operators by providing tax breaks for machinery imports to replace more expensive labour

A wage committee consists of five representatives each from employers, employees and the government.

Daily minimum wages in Asean (in baht)

Singapore

2,000

Brunei

1,800

Thailand

300

Philippines

300

Malaysia

270

Indonesia

230

Myanmar

110

Vietnam

95

Laos

80

Cambodia

75


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