Before proceeding with any formal action, it has been proposed that the tripartite committee—comprised of employer representatives, employee advocates, and governmental officials—engage in comprehensive discussions. Matters on the table for these talks will include the state of inflation, the current minimum wage across provinces, wage disparities among various industries, and the national inflation rate. The expectation is to reach a conclusion by the close of November.
As per the government’s assertion, advancing the minimum daily wage is an important step towards revitalizing the sluggish Thai economy. This plan, which is set to be implemented on the first day of the New Year, aims to counterbalance inflation and the increasing cost of living, consequently alleviating pressure on both employers and the labor market.
The government’s emphasis is not limited to Thai employees. Indeed, the wage increase will also apply to foreign workers. The overarching intention is to enhance the skills of Thai employees, with a goal to ensure their receipt of a minimum daily wage of, at least, four hundred baht. Earlier this month, Phiphat reiterated this commitment at an Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) assembly. He also elaborated on the detrimental effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in a shocking 40% reduction in tourism workforce. Despite some laborers returning to work, there persists a 25% deficit from the pre-pandemic employment rate.
The government’s strategy to invigorate the tourism sector includes temporary exemptions in visa requirements for tourists from China and Kazakhstan. From the 25th of September, 2021 to the 29th of February, 2024, tourists from these nations will be entitled to stays lasting up to 30 days. While there is a staunch resistance to the idea of increasing the number of foreign workers specifically from the Philippines and Indonesia, the Thai government supports a strategy of grooming the Thai workforce in various vocations within the tourism industry.
Collaboration plans featuring four key ministries—Tourism and Sports, Education, Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation, and Labour—are already in motion. The shared objective is to curate a skilled workforce that meets employer demands.
The tourism sector, being a high-demand market worldwide, is characterised by labor shortfalls in numerous countries. This is why some Thai employees have ventured abroad for work, particularly in the Middle East. Key destinations include Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, where remuneration rates eclipse those on offer in Thailand. Consequently, the Labour Ministry is fast-tracking efforts to train local tourism workers and rectify the prevailing labor imbalance, as noted by Phiphat.