New minimum wage announced: Deep South gets lowest rate

The three provinces in the restive Deep South will have the lowest minimum wage in the country, according to an announcement by the Labour Ministry. The highest new rate is 330 baht per day, which is still lower than the proposal from a labour activist group.
 
On 18 January 2018, Jarin Jakkapak, Permanent Secretary of the Labour Ministry, revealed that the Minimum Wage Committee has decided to set new minimum wage rates for seven groups of provinces, in accordance with the cost of living.  
 
The minimum daily wage in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat is 308 baht, which is the lowest rate among the seven, while touristic and industrial provinces, like Phuket, Rayong and Chonburi, have the highest rate of 330 baht. The highly populated areas of Bangkok and Chiang Mai have 325 baht and 320 baht respectively.
 
The Ministry will submit the new rates to the Cabinet for final approval and they will come into effect on 1 April.
 
Last month, the Thai Labour Reconciliation Committee (TLRC) gathered at the Ministry of Labour to demand an increase in the national minimum wage from 300 to 360 baht by 2018. The group also urged the Ministry to apply the same minimum wage across the country. The TLRC stated that the current minimum wage is insufficient for workers to sustain their lives due to the higher cost of living. However, the Ministry later rejected the proposal, saying that that the cost of living varies.
 
The junta has also made various efforts to abolish the minimum wage policy initiated by the Yingluck Shinawatra government. One prominent example is the 2017 Constitution’s section on labour rights. The junta’s charter drafters replaced the words “fair pay without discrimination” with the term “wages in accordance with living conditions”. Labour activists have voiced concerns that the former civilian government’s 300 baht national minimum wage will be abolished because of the loophole in the constitution. 
 
 
Labourers gather in front of the Labour Ministry demanding for higher national minimum wage in December 2017