Concern raised over minimum wage hike on Thai SMEs
The FTI was responding to a letter submitted to the government by the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee and the State Enterprises Workers’ Relations Confederation, ahead of this year’s Labour Day holiday. In the letter, both labour advocacy organisations urged the government to implement the minimum wage increase.
However, Kriengkrai Thiennukul from the FTI says the economy has not yet recovered from the COVID-19 fallout and now faces additional pressure because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We understand everyone is affected by a higher cost of living and workers want higher pay from their companies to deal with the greater financial burden,” he said.
Nevertheless, Kriengkrai says now is not the time to introduce the wage hike, as doing so may further slow the economy and hinder its recovery. In particular, the effect on SMEs could be significant, as they struggle to manage higher costs.
He said small and medium-sized businesses are already struggling with the impact of the pandemic and, if they are forced to increase wages, many may have to shutter for good.
Instead, he suggested a gradual increase to the minimum wage once the global economy has recovered significantly and once Thai businesses, particularly tourism operators, are in a stronger position.
The national wage committee is expected to agree to the proposal to increase the minimum wage as early as August, although it is unlikely to approve the proposed rate of 492 baht (US$14.27) a day, according to Bangkok Post.