Thai workers demand higher pay
Thailand’s labour organisations are urging the government not to set different minimum wages by region, but to raise the current minimum wage equally nationwide for better living conditions.
According to Voice Labour Website, on Friday, 20 November 2015, Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) and State Enterprises Workers’ Relations Confederation (SERC) submitted a joint statement to ML Puntrik Smiti, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, urging the Ministry to rethink the wage hike delay.
Earlier, the Wage Committee of the Labour Ministry announced that it had reached a resolution to delay the increase in the minimum wage for six months from January-June 2016.
In the 2013 resolution of the committee, the 300 baht per day minimum wage was supposed to be adjusted upwards in line with inflation in January 2016.
In addition to the delay, the Ministry has proposed to the military government to differentate minimum wages by region, reasoning that the cost of living differs in each region of the country.
Disagreeing with the policies of the Ministry, TLSC and SERC urged in their statement that the Ministry should increase the minimum wage from 300 baht per day currently to 360 baht (about 10 USD) and implement it nationwide, saying that it is necessary with the current inflation rate and rising cost of living.
Thanaporn Wichan, General Secretary of the TLSC, pointed out that as the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) promised to foster ‘social justice’, all workers should be paid more to have better living conditions, which would in turn stimulate the nation’s economy.
She added that with the current minimum wage Thai labourers have to work extra time to be able to support their families.
Thanaporn further said that the policy to differentiate the minimum wage by region is ‘exploitative’ because workers will have to migrate to find jobs with higher pay, resulting in the separation of families.
Wilaiwan Saetia, President of the TLSC, concluded that the NCPO should prioritise the living conditions of workers before the fluctuation of the nation’s economy, demanding that the Labour Ministry should not delay the wage increase previously promised.
Puntrik, however, told the Nation that the Labour Ministry does not want to delay the wage increase, but the Ministry has to carefully consider whether the wage hike would be suitable for regional economic conditions.
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