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  1. #51
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    http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home...-30138386.html

    Push for minimum wage to be doubled

    By The Nation

    Published on September 21, 2010

    A proposal to more than double the minimum daily wage - from Bt206 to Bt421 - was accepted yesterday by the Labour Ministry and will be further considered by the Finance Ministry.

    The rate is even higher than an earlier proposal to lift the minimum wage to Bt250, which the government has been considering approving.

    The Thai Labour Solidarity Committee also called on the government yesterday to ratify an International Labour Organisation accord protecting labourers joining labour unions at their workplaces.

    TLSC head Wilaiwan sae-Tia said employers in Thailand still gave labourers wanting to join unions harder work or abused them, to force them to resign.

    The group also called for the Social Security Office to be set up as an independent agency, to ensure it was fully efficient and transparent. She said the office had operated for 20 years and now oversaw a huge fund but it still lacked these qualities.

    Labour Minister Chalermchai Sri-on accepted the three proposals. He said the wage request could be passed to the Finance Ministry and a decision on whether to approve it or not would rest with the national Wage Tripartite Committee.

    In regard to workers being able to join workplace unions, the issue would be sent to the Cabinet for approval, and then to Parliament for a final vote.

    On the SSO issue, Chalermchai said businesses with 200 to 1,000 workers could operate their own social security systems if they got permission from the SSO.
    "Slavery is the daughter of darkness; an ignorant people is the blind instrument of its own destruction; ambition and intrigue take advantage of the credulity and inexperience of men who have no political, economic or civil knowledge. They mistake pure illusion for reality, license for freedom, treason for patriotism, vengeance for justice."-Simón Bolívar

  2. #52
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    be a few po-yai's chocking on their rice porridge this morning

  3. #53
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    Minimum wage rise will fuel inflation rate, says BoT

    Minimum wage rise will fuel inflation rate, says BoT

    วันอังคาร ที่ 05 ต.ค. 2553

    BANGKOK, Oct 5 – The proposed increased in the minimum wage will fuel inflationary pressures if it exceeds the core inflation level, according to the Bank of Thailand (BoT).

    Speaking of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to a 250 baht daily rate, Methee Supapong, senior director of the BoT Domestic Economy Department, said that should the Tripartite Private-Sector Committee increase the minimum wage at a higher level than that of the core inflation, it would impact the expected inflation range between 2.5-3.8 per cent for this year.

    With the inflation rate set to rise, the central bank will revise its inflation rate projection prior to a meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee, which is scheduled to take place on October 20, he said.

    “The minimum wage, if adjusted higher than the core inflation level, will raise the inflation rate this year. But whether the rate will increase more than the inflation targeting depends on how much the wage will rise,” said Mr Methee.

    Regarding the current baht appreciation, he said, the department would bring data on the baht rise, overall picture of the economy, and a summary of impacts of the stronger baht on the export sector and the Thai economy for consideration at the MPC meeting so that the committee could use them for its decision on the monetary policy direction.

    The central bank projected the core and general inflation rates would stay in a range of 0.5-1.3 per cent and 2.5-3.8 per cent this year, and 2-3 per cent and 2.5-4.5 per cent next year. (MCOT online news)

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    http://thainews.prd.go.th/en/news.php?id=255310050043

    Tripartite Panel says no to minimum wages adjustment

    BANGKOK, 5 October 2010 (NNT) – The Tripartite Central Wage Committee disagrees with the proposal to raise the minimum wage to 250 a day, indicating that the government should not interfere with the minimum wage issue.

    Committee chairman Dusit Nontanakorn stated that the Tripartite Central Wage Committee believed the adjustment of the minimum wages to a higher level for unskilled workers should be considered based on several factors; such as economic growth, inflation rate, employers' financial ability. He noted that the rate must be adjusted in such a way that both sides could survive. The adjustment was proposed by the Prime Minister.

    The committee consisting of government, employer, and the labor representatives, decided to reject the minimum wage raise to 250 baht per day. The Tripartite Panel also advised that the government stay out of the issue.

    Meanwhile, President of the Thai Labor solidarity, Wilaiwan Sae-Tia said that the idea of raising the minimum wages to 250 baht per day still was insufficient given the high cost of living which forces workers to live in subsistence. She also suggested that the minimum wage be raised to 421 baht per day across the board.

  5. #55
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    http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/loca...f-minimum-wage

    Rally for rise in minimum wage

    About 500 labourers rallied in front of Government House on Thursday and demanded that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva raise the minimum daily wage.

    The workers, led by Sathit Kaewwan, are from labour networks including the Labour Union, the Confederation of Thai Labour and the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee.

    They called on the government to double the minimum daily wage -- from the current maximum of 206 baht to 421 baht.

    They also called on the government to ratify an International Labour Organisation accord protecting labourers joining labour unions at their workplaces.

    If the demands are met, the living conditions of about 37 million of Thai labourers would be improved, they said.

  6. #56
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    Raise them !

    420 Thb seem more realistic then 250 Thb per day, seen cost of living in Thailand actually !

    Bit hard for employers but workers are really on survival mode and this does not help efficiency and education of what comes next...


    Actually there are lots of factories looking for workers and cannot find any ! This forthe whole 2010

    Thailand and China due to language (and many other factors) are real difficult places to set up and run business for Westerners...

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    http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/loca...ely-to-win-nod

    44 baht a day rise unlikely to win nod
    • Published: 11/10/2010 at 12:00 AM
    • Newspaper section: News

    Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's proposal to increase the minimum daily wage to 250 baht is almost certain to be rejected by employers, a member of the tripartite wage committee says.

    Chamras Chailangka said yesterday that instead of the 44 baht increment the prime minister had proposed - to lift the minimum daily wage in Bangkok and Samut Prakan from 206 baht - the increase was likely to be just 10 baht next year to keep wages low and attract investors.

    He said the PM's plan was populist and employers had not been properly consulted on the issue.

    Discussions on the increase would continue today as the committee, representing employees, employers and the government, meets to consider the matter.

    Mr Chamras said Mr Abhisit's proposal was close to the 255 baht rate that the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) recommended last year.

    However, Mr Chamras said he learned from employers that they would accept an increment of only about 10 baht for next year's wage increase.

    Wilaiwan sae Tia, the chair of the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee, said an ideal minimum daily wage to allow labourers to raise their families and give their parents some money without having to do overtime would be 421baht. She admitted that the rate was not possible for the time being, so she was supporting the PM's 250 baht proposal.

    Should the prime minister's proposal be rejected, a 10 baht increment for workers nationwide would be acceptable to Ms Wilaiwan's committee.

    The office of the tripartite wage committee carried out a survey which found that workers are demanding a wage increase because they are heavily affected by the rapidly rising cost of living.

    Many employers base their wage structure on the minimum wage, not on workers' performance.

    A 34-year-old female worker who works at an electronic parts plant in Samut Sakhon and identified herself only as Kate said she had to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week to earn enough money to raise her three children and take care of her parents upcountry.

    Narong Phetprasert, an economics lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, said 60% of labourers had a salary of less than 6,000 baht a month, forcing them to do overtime to make ends meet.

    Bundit Thanachaisethawut, a researcher at the Arom Pongpa-ngan Foundation for labour, said working seven days a week prohibited labourers from developing their knowledge and skills.

    Yongyuth Chalaemwong, a senior researcher at the Thailand Development Research Institute, said the heavy reliance on alien labour was a factor in keeping Thai workers' wages low.

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    lol from 205 to 421,its like you say min wage in German is 10Euro and next years its 20, do the realy want to kill there own economie?

    even from 205 to 250 its already 20% and compled unaceptable, its result only in lay off peaopl eand try to employ Burmis and Laos.

    GMF

  9. #59
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    http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home...-30139878.html

    Minimum wage has not kept up with inflation: study

    By The Nation
    Published on October 12, 2010


    The minimum wage for labourers has not kept pace with the actual cost of living and inflation in the past 10 years, Labour Ministry permanent secretary Somkiat Chayawong said yesterday.

    This conclusion was based on initial findings by a panel assigned by a tripartite committee to study wage increases, said Somkiat, who is the ex officio chairman of the committee.

    For example, inflation was 5.6 per cent in 1997 and there was no increase in the minimum daily wage; the rate was 8.1 per cent the next year, which saw a wage hike of 1.8 per cent. There were no minimum-wage increases in 1999 or 2000, which saw inflation of 0.3 and 1.6 per cent respectively.

    There were only two years in the past decade when the hike in the minimum wage was higher than inflation: 2001, when inflation was at 1.6 per cent and the hike was 2.2 per cent, and 2007, when inflation was 2.3 per cent and the pay rate rose 3.1 per cent.

    The panel is tasked with working out the final figure for the next hike by November, which needs to be approved or rejected before January.

    In working out the final figure, which may not reach Bt250 as proposed by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, four conditions are to be taken into consideration. First, the increase must lift standards for labourers while not burdening employers.

    The three other conditions are: the new wage rate must reflect the rate of inflation and the cost of living; cost-reduction measures will be introduced for free to employers; and skill training must be extended to new employees.

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    As long as it's possible to employ Burmese slaves, the minimum wage debate is irrelevant.

  11. #61
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    http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/loca...cision-delayed

    LABOUR

    Wage rates decision delayed
    • Published: 12/10/2010 at 12:00 AM
    • Newspaper section: News

    The tripartite wage committee is promising to try to set new daily minimum wage rates for next year which keep abreast of the inflation rate.



    The committee, made up of representatives from the government, employers and employees, yesterday failed to set new rates for next year.

    Nor did it discuss a proposal from Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to raise the minimum rate to 250 baht a day for all workers across the country.

    The committee's chairman and permanent secretary for labour, Somkiat Chayasriwong, said the committee yesterday focused on proposals tabled by provincial wage committees.

    The Bangkok committee suggested a new wage of 213 baht a day, up from the present 206 baht, he said.

    The committee was aware of the need to improve labourers' quality of life, but wage rises must not affect employers' ability to pay, Mr Somkiat said.

    He assigned a subcommittee, headed by deputy permanent secretary for labour Sunan Photong, to study the pay rises and inflation rate from 1997 to 2010 and propose appropriate minimum wages for workers countrywide.

    Most wage increases since 1997 have been below the annual inflation rate.

    The subcommittee would look at the discrepancies and the impact on workers, Mr Somkiat said.

    It would depend on employers' ability to pay whether the new minimum wages would partially or completely close the inflation gap, he said.

    The committee could adopt "gradual pay rises" instead of approving a big increase in the minimum rates to reduce the effect on employers, Mr Somkiat said.

    A committee source said employers' financial status, the cost of living, the inflation rate and the economy would all be key factors in determining the new minimum rates.

  12. #62
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    http://www.tannetwork.tv/tan/ViewData.aspx?DataID=1036478

    Bare Minimum Wage


    UPDATE : 22 October 2010

    An old poem found in elementary school books during the administration of Field Marshal P. Pibulsongkram details the conflict of the parent bird, constantly having to fly in search of food for its young yet always deathly worried for the safety and wellbeing of its child. The poem originally was written to remind children of the perseverance and diligence needed to be a parent and caretaker.

    Today, looking at Thailand's working class of farmers, laborers and vendors we see many facing a worse plight than that of the exhausted bird. With responsibilities that range from children and elderly relatives to disabled dependents, it seems no amount of perseverance and hard work rewards the nation's workers with a sufficient bounty to support themselves and the people they care for.

    The average industrial laborer and retail worker is all but imprisoned from 8-12 hours a day in their vocation, whether it be at their storefront of in a factory. Long work hours do not permit for members of this class to pursue additional income or at the very least the abilities that would allow them to excel in their jobs. Worse yet, working class citizens have to suffer under hefty living costs that eat away at their meager pay. On average, a factory worker will spend 30 percent of his or her pay on transportation, 50 percent on food and more still on necessities such as hygiene products, not to mention tax payments and insurance obligations.

    A disheartening 60 percent of low level employees receive a monthly salary of 6,000 baht for working eight hours a day six days a week. The figure would have many a reader balking at the thought of supporting themselves without even beginning to consider the support of a single child.

    A shocking result of this dire situation has been that divorce statistics have risen sharply, along with both reported and unreported instances of abortion, a consequence of so many workers fearing the burdens of child care. With so many resisting reproduction Thailand can anticipate a sharp population drop off in the coming generation. Even at present, the number of individuals entering the employment market has fallen from 1.5 million people per year to 700 thousand.

    Is this how Thailand would like to see its lower class eradicated? Socially and financially neutered and left to slowly thin out? Do the children of the working class not deserve a chance to rise above the stature of their parents and become happy, healthy, contributing members of society?

    The International Labor Organization (ILO) states that in establishing the minimum wage of a developing country two major factors must be considered. The first is the necessities of the common worker and his or her family as well as the amount of state assistance allowing that individual to live relative to members of other economic classes. The second is economic factors such as economic outlook, production targets and the demand for labor. Is Thailand's minimum wage based on these two factors?

    Despite being one of the first nation's to join the ILO, Thailand still continues to obstruct the formation of labor unions at every turn and as is obvious, subjects its citizens to an abysmal minimum wage rate. The Kingdom's atrocious minimum pay is not just an affront to labor practices but a violation of human rights. Perhaps the working class would be better leaving their lives to the birds?

    Post Today, October 22 2010

    Translated and Rewritten by Itiporn Lakarnchua


    Please note that the views expressed in our "Analysis" segment are translated from local newspaper articles and do not reflect the views of the Thai-ASEAN News Network.

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    http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home...-30142052.html


    Wage panel to review minium wage Friday

    The Central Wage Committee will Friday review the proposed raise of minimum daily wage for workers across the country.

    The proposal, prepared by a subcommittee on wage review, is seeking to award the biggest raise to workers in Phuket.

    The subcommittee's chairman Sunan Phothong, who is also Labour Ministry's deputy permanent secretary, yesterday revealed that if the Central Wage Committee gave the green light, the minimum daily wage in Phuket will jump from Bt204 to Bt214.

    The Nation

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    http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2010...-30142045.html


    Panel to consider minimum wage hike proposal


    By The Nation
    Published on November 12, 2010





    The Central Wage Committee will today review a proposed increase in the minimum daily wage for workers across the country.



    The proposal, prepared by a subcommittee on wage review, is seeking to award the biggest raise to workers in Phuket.

    The subcommittee’s chairman Sunan Phothong, who is also Labour Ministry’s deputy permanent secretary, yesterday revealed that if the Central Wage Committee gave the green light, the minimum daily wage in Phuket would jump from Bt204 to Bt214.

    “In Bangkok and its adjacent provinces, we have proposed a Bt7 raise, which means the minimum daily wage will climb up to Bt213,” he added.

    Sunan said workers across the country will likely earn at least Bt5 more per day as his subcommittee has proposed the minimum daily wage rise by at least Bt5 everywhere.

    “Provincial panels on wages from 26 provinces have proposed a raise of fewer than Bt5. But we have resolved to award at least Bt5 raise to all,” Sunan said.

    The proposed pay raise has failed to impress Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) president Wilaiwan sae Tiam.

    “The government has again failed to take into account the real inflation rate and the cost of living,” she complained, “Workers’ quality of life won’t improve then”.

    Wilaiwan said workers in fact wanted to earn Bt421 a day.

    “Or at least, the daily minimum wage should rise to Bt250 as Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had earlier suggested,” she added.

    Wilaiwan said if the workers got appropriate pay, they would have loyalty for their employers and would deliver better performance.

    Pannapong Itattanont, secretary general of the Employers’ Confederation of Thai Trade and Industry, explained the raise must take into account the employers’ ability to pay too.

    “Some factories are now flooded. The wage increase may affect them,” he pointed out.

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    http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/loca...-wage-increase

    Panel delays wage increase
    • Published: 13/11/2010 at 12:00 AM
    • Newspaper section: News

    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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    http://www.tannetwork.tv/tan/ViewData.aspx?DataID=1037868

    Govt Pushing Minimum Wage Raise Before New Year


    UPDATE : 26 November 2010

    The prime minister has assigned the Labor Ministry to assess the possibility of raising the minimum wage before the new year. He also insists that the proposal is not for political gains.

    Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has assigned the Labor Ministry to assess the possibility of raising the minimum wage. The proposal, which will be a higher raise than that of previous years, will have to go through a tripartite board.


    The government is pushing to raise the minimum wage before the new year as well as increase the public's social welfare benefits such as lowering medical expenses.

    The government also insisted that the proposal is not an attempt for political campaigning since it had earlier announced plans to improve the public's social welfare.

    Aside from the proposed minimum wage hike, the prime minister also asked the Energy Policy and Planning Office meeting to look into energy prices. He stated that since natural gas is a national resource, its price must be readjusted to a reasonable rate.

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    http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home...-30143232.html

    Daily minimum wage should be increased by Bt10: PM

    Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Friday that the daily minimum wage should be increased by Bt10 to Bt11 next year.

    Abhisit said he had instructed the government representatives on the tripartite wage committee to increase the daily minimum wage by Bt10 to Bt11 next year.

    The prime minister said businesses should adjust themselves for the pay increases.

    He said the wage rise should make Thai economy more acceptable.

    The Nation

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    http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/...ke-to-slow-gdp

    Wage hike to slow GDP

    11-baht raise shaves 0.2% off growth
    • Published: 27/11/2010 at 12:00 AM
    • Newspaper section: Business

    The government's decision to lift the minimum wage will affect economic growth by 0.2% on average, says the Finance Ministry, while this year's growth will decline slightly to between 7.3% and 7.4% due to the recent floods.

    Pisit Puapan, director of the Macroeconomic Analysis Division in the ministry's Fiscal Policy Office (FPO), said a wage increase from an average of 200 baht to 210 baht a day would have an impact, as wages are a significant investment cost.

    Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said in Bangkok yesterday that effective from Jan 1, the government would raise the minimum wage by 11-12 baht, depending on each province's cost of living.

    Mr Abhisit had previously proposed a flat rate of 250 baht nationwide. However, the tripartite Central Wage Committee comprising the government, employers and labour representatives disagreed and countered with an average increase of 10 baht.

    The committee said a 250-baht flat rate, representing a 21% increase from the top wage in Bangkok, currently 206 baht, would hurt overall economic growth too severely.

    The minimum wage currently exceeds 200 baht only in Bangkok and six other highly developed provinces, and is 151 to 184 baht elsewhere.

    Economists had called the premier's idea too aggressive and inappropriate. They said a too rapid rise in wages would place more pressure on employers' costs with no corresponding improvement in worker productivity.

    Mr Pisit said the FPO would make its final review of the overall economy next month. The most recent one projected 7.5% growth in GDP.

    Thailand registered growth of 6.7% in the third quarter, with estimates of a rise of 2-3% in the fourth, he said.

    Mr Pisit said that projection was based on the baht remaining at 29 to the US dollar. If so, it could shave 0.2% off GDP growth. Staying at 29.50 baht would affect GDP growth by only 0.1%.

    "Right now it's standing at about 30 to the dollar, and that should not affect the overall economy," he said.

    Despite the severity of damage from the recent flooding, pressure on growth will be slight, dropping the projection to 7.3-7.4% from an earlier figure of 7.5%. That is also lower than the recent 7.9% figure from the National Economic and Social Development Board.

    Mr Pisit said that even though many items in the October economic index declined, the economy remains strong.

    Last month, revenue from value-added tax slid in line with reduced growth of 4.5% in domestic consumption, from a 7.1% rise in September.

    Automobile sales expanded by 42.7%, down from 46.6% growth in September, while motorcycle sales growth fell to 14.4% from 15.7%.

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    PM: Govt to review measures helping low-income earners; Minimum wage may rise Bt10


    PM: Govt to review measures helping low-income earners; Minimum wage may rise Bt10


    วันอาทิตย์ ที่ 28 พ.ย. 2553


    BANGKOK, Nov 28 - In an attempt to defend low-income earners against rising inflation in Thailand, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Sunday his government may extend its economic assistance measures for the poor and may as well raise the daily minimum wage by Bt10.

    Mr Abhisit said during his weekly TV and radio address that the growth forecast by the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) for 2010 would grow by nearly 8 per cent along with economic stimulus measures implemented by the government, especially on its spending to assist flood victims, would help the country’s economy to increase in a sustainable manner.

    The NESDB last week revised projection for Thailand’s economic growth this year to 7.9 per cent, up from the earlier forecast of 7-7.5 per cent, on the back of the global economic recovery, improving investor confidence, higher farm income as well as strong tourism and export growth.

    The government is considering raising the daily minimum wage by about Bt10 in order to increase public purchasing power, he said.

    The rising cost of living is an urgent matter for the government to tackle, Mr Abhisit said, adding that the government would soon review possible extension of the five measures to lower the cost of living.

    The economic assistance measures are free electricity for households using less than 90 units per month, free transportation on 800 public buses on Bangkok’s 73 routes, free passage on 172 third-class railway trains on a daily scheduled basis and free piped water supply. The existing measures will expire at year-end.

    The government also freeze prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) at Bt18.13 per kilogramme and natural gas vehicle (NGV) fuel at Bt8.5 per kilogramme. This assistance measure will expire in February.

    The possible extension of the government’s economic assistance programmes comes after the Commerce Ministry earlier this month maintained its projection of the 2010 inflation rate at around 3-3.5 per cent.

    The ministry has forecast that 2011 Thai inflation will stay around 3.2-3.7 per cent based on the assumption that crude oil stays at US$78-88 per barrel and the Thai currency, the baht is around 28-33 against the dollar. (MCOT online news)

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    http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/loca...mum-wage-dec-9

    PM: Decision on minimum wage Dec 9
    • Published: 1/12/2010 at 03:35 PM
    • Online news: Economics

    The tripartite Wage Committee is expected to decide on the new labour minimum wage on Dec 9, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Wednesday.

    The prime minister said this when told by reporters that the the Assembly of Labour Unions had expressed disappointment on learning that the minimum wage might turn out to be 215 baht per day.

    Mr Abhisit had earlier said he wanted to see the minimum wage to go up to 250 baht per day throughout the country. The current minimum wage is 206 baht per day in Bangkok and slightly lower in the provinces.

    The prime minister said the government had tried to work out the most suitable and fair minimum wage.

    Since the minimum wage is set by the tri-partite Wage Committee, the government can only set down a policy that its representatives on the committee ensure there is a suitable increase. Other members represent the employers and employees.

    "I have said that the increase in past years was too little, only 2-3 baht per day, and this year's increase should be more than that. This is not yet final, the decision is expected to be made on Dec 9," Mr Abhisit said.

    He said the Wage Committee would also take for consideration social security benefits.

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    http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2010...-30143718.html

    GOVT CONSIDERS NEW POLICY TO HELP POOR


    By The Nation

    Under a proposed government policy, low-income earners and labourers in Bangkok would be given immediate access to basic state welfare. This is a precursor to a nationwide scheme aiming to benefit about 24 million labourers nationwide.

    Sangsit Phirayarangsan, chairman of a working panel,said the policy was meant to increase the income of labourers,cut down their expenses, improve working conditions andgrant them access to government-funded loans and socialsecurity benefits.The policy - which many critics brand as populist and aiming at seeking grass-roots support ahead of the upcoming general election - will benefit about 5.2 million people living in the capital, mostly cabbies, motorcycle-taxi drivers, vendors and workers without social-security coverage.

    "We will also look into how we can increase the daily income of cabbies and motorcycle-taxi drivers from Bt300 to Bt500," Sangsit said, citing as an example the Ua Athorn taxi project, which was initiated by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and now had 50 per cent bad debts.He added that the government would grant more than 2,000 fee-free locations in Bangkok as an immediate boon for vendors.

    Sangsit's committee will submit its proposals to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva today, and if the measures are approved they will be announced as New Year's gifts for the public at the next Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, he said. Kanok Wongtra-ngarn, an adviser to the prime minister, said the policy was meant to offer more opportunities to exploited people in the labour sector, such as farmhands who were paid less than the minimum daily wage, or taxi drivers and vendors who were exploited by traffic policemen and city police. "The injustice inflicted on these people has been leading to widening social gaps, political conflicts and even violence," he said. To implement the policy, the authorities and government officials would need to adjust their attitude towards labourers, and see them not as a burden but as a workforce that is essential to propelling the country forward.

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    http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/poli...fare-proposals

    PM sets out new welfare proposals

    NON-SSF WORKERS PROMISED HELP
    • Published: 5/12/2010 at 12:00 AM
    • Newspaper section: News

    The government will step up measures to relieve living costs for 24 million workers not covered by the Social Security Fund (SSF).


    MAIN MAN: Mr Abhisit, right, appears at the campaign launch for Apirak Kosayodhin, the Democrat Party candidate in the Dec 12 Bangkok Constituency 2 by-election.

    Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday that he wants to help six groups of workers who are not registered with the SSF and are therefore not entitled to its welfare coverage.

    They are motorcycle taxi and mini-van drivers, taxi and tricycle drivers, street vendors, farmers, night workers at restaurants and entertainment venues, construction workers, and house maids.

    Mr Abhisit said the government was considering ways to relax state regulations on these jobs and give the workers better access to sources of finance such as the Government Savings Bank.

    It will talk to banks and other lenders to work out plans to extend the scope of the SSF.

    Mr Abhisit said the government was looking into measures to reduce the burden caused by gas and petrol expenses. Some people were struggling against the abuse of power by state authorities while others had to work under threat of gangs and these problems would also be tackled, he said.

    Mr Abhisit will announce the first batch of measures to help the workers on Tuesday.

    However, he said the government would not consider a proposal by the Bhumjaithai Party to raise salaries for officials of local administration organisations.

    The Bhumjaithai proposal that was tabled in a cabinet meeting was unclear and it was sent back to the coalition party to work out the details, he said.

    Democrat Party spokesman Buranat Samuttharak denied that the fresh proposals were aimed at bolstering the party's popularity ahead of the next general election.

    The prime minister has indicated that he will hold a general election before his government's current term ends in December of next year.

    The snap poll will be called on the condition that the political atmosphere is conducive to all candidates being able to freely and fairly conduct their political campaigns.

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    http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/o...workers-plight

    EDITORIAL

    PM must ease workers' plight
    • Published: 4/12/2010 at 12:00 AM
    • Newspaper section: News

    It is embarrassing when politicians have to eat their words, especially when they are prime ministers. In 2005, Thaksin Shinawatra did a turnabout on the issue of a 200-baht minimum wage, going from "employers cannot afford it" to enthusiastic endorsement as an election neared. Now Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has fallen into a similar trap by holding out hope of a 250-baht daily wage, only to have to back down when confronted by employers on the tripartite wage committee unable or unwilling to shoulder a 21% increase.



    As the festive season approaches, tens of thousands of workers are wondering how to finance shopping sprees and family celebrations without getting deep in debt or having to work unreasonable amounts of overtime. Part of their problem is that inflation makes a mockery of annual increases in the minimum wage. Even on the two occasions in the past decade when parity has been achieved, the increase has not even covered the bus fare to work.

    But all that was supposed to change with the 2011 minimum wage, which the prime minister said in June should increase from the present 206-baht rate in Bangkok to a more equitable 250 baht. What followed was a roller-coaster ride of speculation that peaked at a demand for a minimum wage of 421 baht a day and then fell back to a more likely and realistic increase of just 11 baht for those working in the capital and proportionate increases for those in the provinces.

    Now unions are urging Mr Abhisit to honour his pledge but employers say they cannot absorb extra labour costs of this magnitude without increasing product costs to a level where they become uncompetitive and trigger massive inflation. Such fears are justified but an alternative such as a graduated and index-linked scale over a set time period should be pursued. This could be complemented by more generous cost-of -living payments for unskilled employees. In exchange for this, business operators would receive tax incentives. At present it is difficult for a worker who earns the basic minimum wage to make ends meet, let alone raise a family and enjoy a decent standard of living.

    The practice of applying different minimum wages to different zones throughout the country creates confusion and does not reflect present-day reality. Workers in Nakhon Sawan, Chiang Rai or Ayutthaya provinces who receive less than fellow workers in Bangkok often have to pay more for the same consumer products they buy in their hometowns, as transport costs are higher.

    It is unfair that they should be paid so much less than workers in the capital. The different rates also motivate job-seekers to move from one province to another, creating labour shortages. Because Bangkok offers the highest rate, it exerts the strongest pull and this contributes to the urban drift to the capital.

    Even with the current meagre minimum wage, many owners of small businesses refuse to honour it and resort to tricks to circumvent the law. One ploy is to make use of the service of sub-contractors, who provide employers with the needed workforce. Equally common is the use of low-cost migrant labour, especially on building sites.

    Such problems have been rife ever since the minimum wage was introduced in 1973 with a 12-baht-a-day rate for Bangkok. We must improve the skills and morale of factory employees through job training and further education. The present system needs an overhaul if we are to create a happier workforce, boost productivity and calm fears about remaining competitive.

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    http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/loca...-plan-gets-nod

    Cabinet approval for Post Bank
    • Published: 7/12/2010 at 02:28 PM
    • Online news:

    The cabinet meeting agreed in principle to a plan to set up Post Bank to provide small soft loans for an estimated 14-18 million people who are denied access to other financial sources, Information and Communication Technology Minister Juti Krairerk said on Tuesday.

    Post Bank, to be set up under the umbrella of a state-run Thailand Post Company, will have an initial registered capital of 50 million baht, Mr Juti said.

    The bank will only provide soft loans to a maxiimum of 10,000 baht each and will not offer any money deposit services, the minister said.

    It is expected that the new micro-finance bank will start operations in February next year, when about 10 pilot branches of the bank will be opened to provide lending services.

    Thailand Post was authorised by the cabinet to proceed with the bank’s establishment and registration, selection of a board of executives and recruitment of a management team and staff, said Mr Juti.

    The Daily News reported the new bank will lend to small retailers and other people with an average income around 5,000 baht a month and those in debt to loan-sharks.

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    http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingn...-b10-wage-hike

    Workers to press for B10 wage hike
    • Published: 8/12/2010 at 12:15 PM
    • Online news: Economics

    About 1,000 workers will rally in front of the Labour Ministry on Thursday to press for a 10 baht rise in the minimum wage, labour leader Manas Kosol said on Wednesday.

    Mr Manas, president of the Labour Development Council of Thailand, said the rally was set for Nov 9 when Central Wage Committee would hold a meeting to consider the new minimum wage for 2011.

    He said although most workers wanted the new minimum wage to go up to 250 baht per day, as proposed by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, or 421 baht per day as demanded by certain groups of workers, these figures were unlikely to be possible.

    The workers should be satisfied a 10 baht rise, which was more reasonable, he said.

    Sunan Pothong, chairman of a technical subcommittee of the Central Wage Committee responsible for proposing a suitable wage rise, said his panel would propose an increase which was likely to satisfy the LDCT, but some groups who demanded as high as 421 baht per day would be disappointed.

    He declined to reveal the amount of increase to be proposed to the Central Wage Committee tomorrow.

    On Tuesday, the Thai Labour Reconciliation Committee (TLRC) issued a statement demanding a 421 baht miminum wage.

    The committee said if this was not possible Mr Abhisit's proposal for 250 baht per day minimum wage nationwide would be acceptable. However, it said an increase of 10 baht per day would not be enough to enable workers to have a quality living condition.

    The current minimum wage is 206 baht per day for Bangkok and surrounding provinces and slightly lower in other provinces.

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