The Thai private sector has expressed serious concerns over the opposition Pheu Thai Party’s ambitious plan to increase the daily minimum wage to 600 baht by 2027, claiming that this substantial rise will drive up the cost of production by about 70%.
On behalf of the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking, Sanan Angubolkul, president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Trade, said today (Wednesday) that the minimum wage is usually decided by wage committees at the provincial and national levels, taking into account numerous factors, including the inflation rate, cost of living and price indices.
The Pheu Thai Party unveiled its 10-point manifesto yesterday, which contains the aim of increasing the daily minimum wage to 600 baht by 2027.
Sanan recalled that, when the daily minimum wage was increased to 300 baht in 2011, several small entrepreneurs could not afford it and some big businesses decided to move their production from Thailand to countries where the cost of labour is lower.
Currently, daily minimum wages in Thailand range from 328-354 baht, depending on the economic situation in each province. Sanan said that even step-by-step increases in the minimum wage, up to 600 baht over four years, may affect many businesses which cannot afford the rise.
He said the private sector feels, however, that the wage should be adjusted in accordance with the economic situation and must be carefully considered, by taking into account Thailand’s competitiveness and Thailand’s labour skills development among other factors.
Sanan said that the private sector will also appeal to the government to shelve the plan temporarily to increase the Fuel Tariff (FT), a variable tariff reflecting uncontrollable changes in fuel costs, for January through April.