ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai wage boost to “rebalance” society
Boosting minimum wages and farm income is all part of a larger strategy aimed at nothing short of rebalancing Thailand's society and economy, says Kittiratt Na-Ranong, the deputy prime minister in charge of economic policy.
"Do you agree that 250 baht (US$8.33) a day is a decent wage? Or even the 300 baht ($10) per day that I am proposing," Mr Kittiratt, also the commerce minister, said.
"Working for eight full hours ... do you think that is good enough for these people who are Thai human beings, and foreign human beings ... whether this kind of level is considered decent? I don't. I wouldn't let my son, or my brothers, or my good friends work and earn that little. I'll do anything that I can to help them."
The government will raise minimum wages, now set at 226 baht per day in Phuket to 156 baht in Phayao, to 300 baht per day in Bangkok and six other provinces starting Jan 1, 2012. Authorities will also raise civil service salaries for university graduates to 15,000 ($500) baht per month under a program that will push state salary spending up by 27 billion baht per year.
The increases are a step backwards from prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra's campaign promises to boost wages nationwide in one go, after stiff opposition from the business sector.
But Mr. Kittiratt said he was confident that the rate hike would push wages at the bottom upwards across the system.
"It's good that they are volunteering to do so, that way I won't have to force them. The tripartite committee decides by majority vote. For decades, the government has sided with the employers. Now it's time to look after the workers.”
Letters that do not contain full contact information cannot be published.
Letters become the property of AseanAffairs and may be republished in any format.
They typically run 150 words or less and may be edited
submit your comment in the box below