MFP leader promises reasonable minimum wage increase without economic damage

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Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat recently assured that a coalition government under his leadership would not immediately raise the minimum daily wage to 450 baht but would ensure a reasonable increase without causing damage to industry or the economy. Limjaroenrat, the party’s prime ministerial candidate, made this promise during a meeting with representatives of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The proposed increase to a 450-baht minimum wage was a component of the MFP’s election pledges. Limjaroenrat stated that his party aims to raise the minimum daily wage to 450 baht, but they would first need to discuss a new rate with their coalition allies, who had planned different increments.

“I confirm it won’t be a sharp increase that will shock the system. We agree that the wage increase must be based on economic growth, inflation, and the efficiency of workers,” Limjaroenrat said.

Currently, the minimum daily wage in Bangkok is 353 baht, while workers in Chon Buri receive 354 baht a day. Workers in other provinces receive less.

To ease the impact of the wage increase, Limjaroenrat’s government would help employers, particularly SMEs, through tax reductions and measures to boost business liquidity, like those introduced by the former Yingluck Shinawatra administration.

“I will listen to opinions from all involved this week and discuss the feedback with coalition partners, such as the Pheu Thai Party, which also supports a wage hike. We have to decide on a proper rate,” Limjaroenrat said.

He also mentioned that tax incentives are not the only way to attract foreign investment, but the ease of doing business, cutting unnecessary red tape, and cracking down on corruption is also necessary to woo investors.

Kriengkrai Thiennukul, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), expressed his desire for the incoming government to scrap outdated laws and introduce new ones to promote emerging industries. He also agreed with the idea of setting up joint panels made up of the FTI and government representatives to solve problems in each industrial cluster, in addition to the Joint Public and Private Sector Consultative Committee, which is responsible for seeking solutions to economic problems.

Thiennukul said he had been concerned about the MFP’s wage hike policy, but Limjaroenrat’s clarification has allayed his concerns.

Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), said that Limjaroenrat is expected to meet for talks with representatives of the TCC next week. Topics under discussion are expected to include short-term measures to stimulate the economy, the reduction of electricity rates, revising laws that obstruct business operations, and the proposed wage hike, reports Bangkok Post.

Angubolkul stated that business operators expect a new government to take office quickly to ensure economic stability.

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