Minimum wage rise not tabled at cabinet meeting

Minimum wage rise not tabled at cabinet meeting

Members of the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee rally at Government House during the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, calling for a flat 360 baht daily minimum wage across the country. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Members of the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee rally at Government House during the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, calling for a flat 360 baht daily minimum wage across the country. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Labour Minister Adul Sangsingkeo put off tabling the proposed new minimum wage agreement at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, while seeking to allay concern over the delay with the explanation some matters still needed to be sorted out.

Pol Gen Adul said procedural red tape was the only reason for delaying cabinet approval for another week. "The cabinet still adheres to the decision made by the  National Wage Committee," the minister said.

The delay does, however, follow fresh pressure by the private sector to reconsider the increases agreed upon by representatives of workers, employers and labour officials on the tripartite wage committee because they were higher than many businesses had expected.

The minimum daily wage will increase nationwide in the range of 5-22 baht depending on the province, with Phuket, Chon Buri and Rayong the highest at 330 baht and Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat on the other end at 308 baht.

The Thai Labour Solidarity Committee also pressed the government on Tuesday to instead introduce a flat daily rate of 360 baht for workers across the country.

With the averaged-out increase at 5%, the new rates were acceptable to the government, Pol Gen Adul said.

The new minimum rates are due to take effect on April 1, if the proposal gets cabinet approval.

Col Thaksada Sangkachana, the assistant government spokeswoman, confirmed after the cabinet meeting that the wage agreement was not put on the table as earlier expected. The cabinet also did not discuss the private sector's call to reconsider the increases, she added.

The tripartite committee negotiated for about a month, with several rounds of talks, before agreeing on the new minimum wage levels last Wednesday. It was announced then that the agreement was expected go to the cabinet for approval at today's meeting.



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