New minimum wage will affect SMEs

As the government is going to increase minimum wage, at least 15 baht higher, as New Year's gifts for workers and to become effective end of this month, concern is growing among employers that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will bear the burden.

Mr Tanit Soratna, vice president of the Employer's Confederation of Thai Trade and Industry, said SMEs which form up to 80% of industry will bear the burden of higher minimum wage if it is increased 15 baht higher, or 5%.

He said the 5% increase is higher than the inflation rate which is set to be 1.6% this year.

Production cost will go higher, notably for the textile and food sectors, he said.

He then suggested that the appropriate rate should be decided on inflation rate and the affordable coverages for employers.

He said that recent 33% increase in minimum wage by Myanmar to 4,800 kyats or 115 baht won't result in Myanmar migrant workers returning homes as Thailand's minimum wage is higher.

Meanwhile the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) called for a 360 baht minimum wage for workers across the country,

TLSC president Charlie Loisoong said the TLSC reiterated its position for 360 baht minimum wage for workers.

But it depended on each employer whether to adjust the wage to the same level or higher, he said.

The tripartite minimum wage committee will discuss new minimum wage within next week, indicating in some areas the increase might be higher than 15 baht.

Permanent-secretary to the Labour Ministry Jarin Chakkapark said Thailand hadn't adjusted minimum wage for the last three years, with the latest adjustment to 310 baht for just 30 provinces.

He indicated that the new wage might be higher than 15 baht, but not covering the whole country.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)