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Panel delays wage increase

The Central Wage Committee has postponed a decision on a proposed hike to the minimum wage pending another study to arrive atan ”appropriate” figure.

The committee, chaired by labour permanent secretary Somkiat Chayasriwong, did not approve of a proposal by a subcommittee on wage review that used rates recommended by provincial wage committees.

The subcommittee suggested increasing the minimum wage by 7 baht a day to 213 baht. That falls below the Labour Ministry’s Labour Economics Office ”quality of life” wage of 228 baht.

Mr Somkiat said the Central Wage Committee has asked the subcommittee to revise its figures so that a balance is struck between workers’ quality of life and the financial concerns of employers.

He said the final figures are expected early next month.

Viboon Kromadit, chief operating officer of industrial estate developer Amata Corporation Plc, said a compromise must be reached on the minimum wage issue. He suggested that changes to the wage should be gradual to avoid a major impact on employers.

Economist Narong Phetprasert, however, lambasted the figure proposed by the subcommittee, saying the hike was so minimal that it would have no effect on workers’ lives as it does not reflect real costs.

”The figures are based on last year’s information, which is not fair. They need to project next year’s situation and base their calculation on that,” he said.

Tanit Sorat, vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said the real problem facing labour in Thailand is not the minimum wage, but the shortage of skilled workers.

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