Minister Padermchai rows with disgruntled workers
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Minister Padermchai rows with disgruntled workers

Labour leaders have threatened to stage a move to oust Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap following a heated quarrel over the 300 baht wage hike.

About 500 members of the Thonburi Automotive Assembly labour union and workers from Silver Ice Co rallied in front of the Labour Ministry yesterday, asking Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap to help them obtain the 300 baht minimum wage. SURAPOL PROMSAKA NA SAKOLNAKORN

The move came after about 500 workers from Thonburi Automotive Assembly Co and Silver Ice Co, a jewellery maker, gathered in front of the ministry yesterday to call for help after their employers cut their welfare benefits as a result of the government's 300 baht wage hike policy.

They also claimed their employers were willing to give the new wage hike to new staff only, while old workers would not be entitled to the new rate.

Mr Padermchai met the workers.

However, during the talks he berated labour leaders and the workers for staging the rally, which he said had cast the country's image in a negative light and eroded investor confidence. He defended the government's 300 baht policy and told workers whose wages had not been increased to talk to their employers.

After receiving the petition from the workers' representative, Mr Padermchai engaged in a heated quarrel with Manas Kosol, chairman of the National Congress of Thai Labour and other labour leaders.

Din Daeng police went to the scene but there were no reports of violence.

Mr Manus said Mr Padermchai had belittled the plight of workers affected by the government's decision to increase the minimum wage to 300 baht. Employers had cut welfare benefits of workers after they were forced to comply with the wage hike policy, he said.

Increases in the minimum wage will take effect on April 1 in seven pilot provinces _ Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani and Phuket.

More than 10 million workers nationwide have been affected by the wage policy, said Mr Manus.

Many workers had lost their faith in Mr Padermchai and they would soon stage a move in front of Government House to call for the replacement of the minister, he said.

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