Thailand Hikes Minimum Wage To Help Workers Battle High Cost Of Living


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Bloomberg

Thailand plans to increase the statutory daily minimum wage from next year, a move that will help millions of workers employed in sectors from construction to manufacturing and tourism deal with rising cost of living amid a sluggish post-pandemic economic recovery.

The daily pay will rise an average 2.4% to between 330 baht ($9.33) and 370 baht from Jan. 1, depending on the economic condition of each of the nation's 77 provinces, according to Piroj Chotikasatien, permanent-secretary at the Ministry of Labor. A committee of representatives from the government, employers and labor unions unanimously agreed on the hike after a meeting on Friday.

The proposed hike is lower than the 400 baht promised by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin after he took office in September, and is seen as a compromise as Thai companies counter a decline in exports and lackluster spending by foreign tourists. The country last lifted the minimum wage by about 5% in October last year.

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Southeast Asia's second-largest economy unexpectedly slowed in the third quarter as manufacturing contracted and exports dived. Consumer prices contracted 0.44% in November mainly because of energy subsidies unveiled by Srettha's administration.

"Workers wanted a bigger raise but employers wanted to slow the hike or keep the existing rates, so we needed to compromise and seek a balance,” Piroj said. "The rate may reach 400 baht next year.”

The proposed increase takes into account inflation, economic growth as well as employment rates of each province, Piroj said, adding that the revised rates will be submitted to the cabinet next week.

Daily wage earners in Bangkok, the nation's capital, will see their pay rise by 2.8% to 363 baht, while workers in Phuket, the popular resort island, will get the highest wage of 370 baht because of its high reliance on tourism and the high cost of living, according to Piroj.

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