Bloomberg News

Thai Committee Fails to Reach Agreement on Minimum Wage Rise

October 05, 2011

(Updates with committee member’s comment in fourth paragraph.)

Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- A Thai committee representing workers, businesses and the government failed to reach an agreement on a proposed increase in the minimum wage, said Somkiat Chayasriwong, the labor ministry’s permanent secretary.

The committee will meet again on Oct. 17, Somkiat told reporters today in Bangkok.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai party won elections in July after pledging to increase the minimum wage to 300 baht ($9.64) per day. The plan has faced criticism from business groups who argue that higher costs will erode exports and force them to fire workers.

“Raising wages to 300 baht a day nationwide would have a severe impact on businesses,” said Atthayuth Leeyavanija, a commission member representing employers. “The 300 baht minimum wage was a promise made by the politicians to win votes, so they must pay for the additional increase.”

Two alternatives are being discussed, Somkiat said.

Representatives of workers and the government are supportive of a proposal to raise wages by 40 percent nationwide in 2012, and to 300 baht a day in any province that still falls short of that level, Somkiat said.

Employers prefer an increase to 300 baht per day over four years, and will only accept the first proposal if the government provides assistance to help them cope with higher costs, Somkiat said.

“We have to reach a conclusion in the next meeting so all business operators have time to adjust themselves to new wages,” Somkiat said.

--With assistance from Tony Jordan in Bangkok. Editors: Tony Jordan, Linus Chua

To contact the reporter on this story: Anuchit Nguyen in Bangkok at anguyen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net


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