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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        10  March 2011

Wage increase proposed by Thai Democrats

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Thailand's Democrat Party's promise to boost the daily minimum wage by 25 percent is drawing scrutiny. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva promised to lift the daily minimum wage by 25 percent nationwide as part of a four-point policy package for the ruling Democrats' election campaign. The prime minister announced the package on February 27 to a group of 200 young people who wanted to work with the Democrats at the Chatuchak weekend market.

Out of the total 38 million laborers in Thailand, 21 million are freelance workers, such as farmers and taxi drivers, who will not be affected by minimum wage hikes.

The core of the issue, may be in increasing the efficiency and productivity of workers which would naturally generate higher income in line with market mechanisms. On the other hand, if productivity did not improve, the private sector should not raise wages.

There may be problems that might arise from an increase in both the minimum wage and energy costs simultaneously.

Sombat Teekasap, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industry's renewable energy industry club, said that industries currently face problems concerning not only labour, where the trend is heading towards using automated systems instead, but also higher energy costs.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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