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Few will be laid off due to wage increase: govt

The authorities believe that the imminent hike in the minimum daily wage will likely cost some people their jobs but the number will be relatively low.

"Many industries are facing a shortage of labour," Labour Minister Phadermchai Sasomsap said yesterday, adding that there were more than 300,000 vacancies across the country.

The minister was speaking after Chalee Loysoong, president of the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee, voiced concern that some employers might lay off their workers before January 1 in a bid to avoid paying higher severance pay. The Bt300 minimum daily wage goes into effect in 70 provinces from January 1.

However, Labour Welfare and Protection Department director-general Pakorn Amorncheewin said that as of Tuesday, only 1,072 workers at five factories had been laid off due to the initial wage increase in seven provinces in April.

"This number is relatively low," Pakorn said, adding that the upcoming wage hike would go into effect in a much wider area, but explained that the employers had about a year to adapt.

"Some entrepreneurs are already paying up to Bt320 per day," he said, adding that people should also work harder to justify their higher pay.

Though relevant authorities expect a relatively low number of workers to lose their jobs, Pakorn said they were monitoring the situation closely.

"We have planned several measures such as suspending employers' contributions to the social security fund and finding new jobs for those who have been laid off," he added.

He went on to say that several industries, such as the automotive sector, were facing labour shortage, though he added some workers might need to migrate to new areas to find jobs.

"If huge job losses take place in certain provinces, we will have to prepare for migration, because apart from jobs, workers will also need a place to stay," he said.

According to Phadermchai, 29 provinces, particularly in the North and Northeast, will see a huge jump in wages, such as Phayao, where minimum wages will increase from just Bt159 to Bt300.


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