AFTER various labour unions asked the government to increase the daily minimum wage to 492 baht at an International Labour Day event at the Democracy Monument this morning (May 1), Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said there will be an increase but not to that level, Thansettakij newspaper and Amarin TV said.
The minister pointed out that in fixing the daily minimum wage inflation, cost of living and the current wage rate, ranging from 313 to 336 baht depending on where the worker is located and in effect since 2020, had to be taken into account.
Suchart added that he could not understand the logic behind the demand that the same minimum wage be applied across the country.
“For example, if we rent a house in Lampang for 2,000 baht, the rent in Chonburi or Bangkok would be different. Therefore the cost of living in each area has to be calculated. I used to be an employee under Section 33 (of the Social Security Act) and understand everything.
“Their demands have to sometimes be balanced with the other side – yin and yang have to be balanced,” he said.
Suchart explained that over the past two years employers had been badly hit by the Covid pandemic with some of them not knowing where to get the money to support their business and this made it difficult for them to absorb a 48 percent wage hike.
He added that he had always said the daily minimum wage had to be adjusted to the level enabling both employers and employees to survive. In the past he had asked workers who had come to ask for a wage hike how much they earned and they all said their salary was several times higher than the minimum wage with an adjustment affecting the whole chain.
“Thai workers today have skills, no one works for minimum wage at construction sites… we have to admit that our brothers and sisters now work in the office,” he said.
While the Labour Ministry had been accused of siding with employers, Suchart pointed out that if employers could not survive they would close down but in doing so they could face difficulty in paying the lay-off benefits and it was also uncertain whether there was enough funds in the Social Security system to cover them.
Top and below: International Labour Day event at Democracy Monument this morning. Photos: Amarin TV
Home Page: Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin. Photo: Thansettakij