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Labour union plans campaign to push parties into keeping wage-hike promises

Labour union plans campaign to push parties into keeping wage-hike promises

THURSDAY, May 09, 2019

THE CONFEDERATION of Thai Labour (CTL) is looking to hold discussions with workers to plan a pressure campaign to ensure that political parties fulfil their campaign promises to hike the minimum wage, after their hope for a quick rise was crushed by the abrupt resignation of Labour Ministry executives.

Workers have been left waiting after the Central Wage Committee’s May 10 meeting to decide on new daily wages was postponed indefinitely because Labour Minister Pol General Adul Sangsingkeo and permanent secretary Jarin Chakkaphark, who chaired the Central Wage Committee, resigned this week to join the junta-appointed Senate. The new daily wage rate was slated to be announced later this month and implemented from June 1. 
The two men’s resignations went into effect yesterday, leaving the deputy Labour permanent secretary Suradech Waleeittikul in charge, a ministry source said. 
CTL president Manas Kosol said this means the decision for increasing the minimum wage had to wait for the next government and a new labour minister.
Once the new government takes shape, the CTL will hold discussions with workers and advocates about the next move to demand the fulfilment of campaign promises made by political parties, Manas said. 

‘Employers don’t care’
In order to woo voters, various political parties had proposed minimum wage hikes. For instance, the pro-junta Phalang Pracharat Party promised to bump the daily wage up to Bt400-Bt425, while Pheu Thai Party promised Bt400.
Boonyuen Sukmai, coordinator for the Eastern-Region Labour Union Association, said the daily wage increment would be held back for another year, and any calls for a hike will remain unanswered as factories don’t seem to care about their workers and will fire those they deem as “too demanding”. 
“Workers now aim to stick with their jobs, because quitting will lead to difficulties. If you ask or demand too much, you could be fired, as the employers don’t really care for you,” he said, adding that the workforce was exhausted and divided, which made it difficult to make demands in unison. 
This situation is not just limited to blue-collar workers, but also to white-collar workers earning higher salaries, as many have been asked to leave voluntarily or involuntarily, he added. 
The Central Wage Committee’s meeting – now postponed indefinitely – was expected to consider incremental increases to the daily minimum wage by Bt2 to Bt10 among seven provincial clusters. 
It was proposed that wages in 46 provinces would rise by Bt2; in 31 provinces by Bt2 to Bt10; Bangkok and Phuket were to get a Bt10 bump; Samut Prakan Bt7; and Chon Buri and Rayong (both at Bt330) were to each get Bt5.
As of now, Thailand has seven daily minimum wage rates: Bt308 in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat; Bt310 in 22 provinces; Bt315 in 21 provinces; Bt318 in seven provinces; Bt320 in 14 provinces including Khon Kaen and Ubon Ratchathani; Bt325 in seven provinces including Bangkok and Samut Prakan; and Bt330 in Chon Buri, Rayong and Phuket. The average minimum wage is Bt315.97.