The Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TSLC) said it has given the government six months to increase minimum wage for workers to Bt300/day after the Pheu Thai Party had earlier pledged in its election campaign.
TSLC Chaiman Charlie Loisoong said the Pheu Thai Party should implement its Bt300 wage policy within six months; otherwise the workers would take action to press the government.
He did not specify what the TSLC would do to pressure the government if it is unable to put into practice what it had promised the people.
The Pheu Thai Party had pledged in its election campaign to raise the national minimum wage to Bt300 per day and to ensure that college graduates have a minimum starting salary of Bt15,000 per month. The party assured voters that it stands ready to implement the policy within its first year in office as the government.
Mr Charlie said if the government failed to increase the minimum wage, it was considered as a breach of its campaign promise.
If the government twists its words by including overtime payment, other welfare components including food, transportation and housing allowances into Bt300 wage, it could be considered that it has failed to honour its election pledge, he said.
The labour activist said that if overtime pay is included, workers would normally receive more than Bt300 per day.
Mr Charlie said only 30 per cent of Thailand’s workers get paid over Bt300 daily and that the remainder were underpaid.
Although the employers generally disagreed with the increase, both the government and workers in the Wage Tripartite Committee comprised of representatives from government, employer and worker organisations agreed with the move, so it should mean that the Tripartite wage Committee agreed with the plan.
Mr Charlie said he is confident that the plan could be achieved.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had earlier said repeatedly said a Bt300 minimum wage was feasible, but the business sector had voiced concerns over the move.
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) earlier said the government should consider the process of the minimum wage rise to Bt300/day to be brought into effect within 3-4 years, not immediately, as it would be too big change for the economy’s wage structure to absorb. (MCOT online news)
The recent debate over proposed changes to the statutory minimum wage in Thailand demonstrates the central importance of wages in a society and economy. Indeed, this may be an ideal opportunity for workers, employers and government to discuss the bigger picture of wages in general _ not only minimum wages _ and the policies that determine them.
Wages are at the heart of the International Labour Organisation’s mandate. The ILO believe it is timely to offer some dispassionate views on wages in Thailand based on facts and figures available, and with reference to international labour standards developed over the past 90 years by member states, including Thailand, which is a founding member.
The ILO’s analysis of global wages over the past 30 years reveals three clear trends. The share of wages in gross domestic product is falling while the share going to profits is rising; workers are reaping an ever smaller part of the national wealth.
In addition, wage growth is not keeping up with labour productivity growth, resulting in flat or diminishing real wages for most workers. Finally, income and wage inequality within countries, between the highest and lowest paid, is increasing.
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