Thailand to raise minimum wage by 2.37% from Jan 1

BANGKOK: Thailand will raise the average daily minimum wage by 2.37% effective Jan 1 next year, a senior official said on Friday (Dec 8), short of the level promised by the ruling party in its election campaign.

A committee of government representatives, private companies and labour groups on Friday agreed to raise the threshold to between 330 baht and 370 baht (US$9.33 to $10.46) per day, up from 328-354 baht at present. The level varies between different parts of the country.

"This adjustment will allow workers to achieve a standard of living that is based on economic conditions and suitable for businesses," Pairoj Chotikasathien, permanent secretary of labour, told a press conference.

The populist Pheu Thai party had pledged to raise the wage to 400 baht per day in what was a key plank of its election manifesto. The previous government in October last year had increased the minimum wage by 5.02%.

Pheu Thai's plan for a big hike had rattled businesses over concerns it would push up operating costs and make Thailand less competitive for investors at a time when the economy is underpeforming the region.

South-East Asia's second-largest economy grew a slower-than expected 1.5% in the third quarter from a year earlier, the slowest pace this year, on weak exports and government spending.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, a real estate tycoon and political newcomer, is on a drive to attract investors and has said the economy is in "crisis".

He has been stressing the need to follow through with stimulus plans, including his controversial $14 billion digital handout policy, to be implemented next year.

Pairoj said there would be another wage increase in 2024 where they would seek to raise the level to 400 baht. - Reuters

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