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Phuket Business: B300 minimum wage hike to worsen labor shortage

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Business: B300 minimum wage hike to worsen labor shortage | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: With the nationwide minimum wage set to rise to 300 baht, a labor shortage tops the list of business risks for property and construction firms in 2013. To consumers, this could mean longer construction periods while they wait to take possession of their new homes.

Thailand’s construction, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors are now facing a shortfall of about 200,000 workers. The situation is expected to worsen next year when a number of government infrastructure projects are set to launch, which will lead to skyrocketing demand for workers.

To ease the situation, Housing Business Association president Issara Boonyoung said his organization has asked the Labor Ministry to relax rules on employment of foreign labor.

Foreigners’ entry to the Thai labor market should be facilitated, and they should be allowed to relocate once they are here.

“As we have many construction sites, workers should be allowed to move around,” he said.

According to the National Economic and Social Development Board, there are about two million foreign workers in Thailand, mostly from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

After enduring the labor shortage for some time, some property companies have resorted to technology.

Pruksa Real Estate and Sansiri PCL, for example, have moved towards prefabrication. Others have modified the construction process so that fewer skilled workers are needed.

The labor situation is aggravated by the continued expansion of the property sector as it enjoys a 10% annual increase in housing demand. Each year, about 230,000 residential units are launched, 80,000 of which are in Bangkok alone.

“This problem will worsen in 2013 when the government’s infrastructure projects worth at least 500 billion baht start.

“This will attract labor away from private projects to public projects, as some are in the workers’ provinces or nearby. This will affect both the real-estate and construction industries,” Issara said.

The government is scheduled to announce the bidding results for its 350bn baht worth of water-management projects early in the new year and construction should start shortly after that.

Meanwhile, a portion of the 2.2 trillion baht worth of infrastructure projects planned for the period between 2013 and 2020 will be put to tender next year.

With a low unemployment rate of 0.6%, or only 232,400 eligible laborers without work, Thailand is among the few countries with an unemployment rate below 1%, compared with nearly 30% in Spain and Greece and nearly 8% in the United States.

A low fertility rate coupled with growing labor demand in the agricultural sector has exacerbated the situation, as the workforce has not increased much.

In the third quarter of this year, agricultural-sector employment rose 3% from the same period last year as farmers expanded rice-plantation areas.

— Somluck Srimalee

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vietjet

Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15

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Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Kom Chad Luek

Samut Sakhon’s Central Shrimp Market, the epicentre of Thailand’s recent wave of Covid-19, will remain closed until February 15. The market can reopen once the overall hygiene situation at the market and surrounding area has improved, according to the province’s disease control committee.

Local officials say the shrimp market needs to remain closed until the market structure and nearby residential facilities are inspected. People who violate the order face up to a year in prison and a fine up to 100,000 baht.

More than 12,000 people in the province have tested positive for Covid-19. The increasing number of infections is a result from the active case finding to contain the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | Thairath Online

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