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The 300 Baht Minimum Wage and Thailand’s Greedy Ultra-Rich

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Thailand’s current government, headed by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, has slowly been putting a new daily minimum wage into effect all over Thailand. As of January 1st, 2013, the new rate of 300 baht a day will apply to all businesses in Thailand and all jobs, no matter who you are or where you live or how large or small your business is. For every employee you hire, you will be expected to pay them a minimum salary of 300 baht per day.

Since the new 300 baht minimum wage rate was announced last year, however, Thailand’s ultra-rich have gone into action — moaning how they can’t afford to pay 300 baht per worker per day and being forced to do so may cause them to have to close their businesses. Yet, at the same time, they’re still living in their houses worth a few hundred million baht, taking trips to Hong Kong, Singapore and Europe and driving their two or three expensive Mercedes.

In fact, you have to wonder what kind of poor morals so many of Thailand’s greedy ultra-rich families were taught, when it’s more important they get to keep more profits to add to their already millions of dollars of wealth, than to pay Thailand’s working class, working 28 days a month I might add, more than 7,000 baht ($231) a month. The greed of many of Thailand’s ultra-rich really is obscene.

Since the new minimum wage went into effect in Thailand on Tuesday some of them, of course, have already begun to lay off some workers in an attempt to cut costs.  Others have cut their employees’ work days down to just four days a week.  As. after all, being able to afford the latest IT equipment or to buy a third BMW for their 16-year-old daughter to drive is far more important than paying their employees a liveable wage.

Luckily though, most Thai employees, particularly those who are not obscenely wealthy, are agreeing to pay the 300 baht per day minimum wage and some already did, so that means so far layoffs have actually been minimal. As the government has already stated as well, most of the companies that have laid people off were struggling to begin with anyway so, 300 baht minimum wage or not, they were eventually likely to close down.

And. of course, those Thai companies or people who are laying employees off when the new minimum wage is not a financial hardship deserve to go bankrupt anyway. Let’s hope they do.

Personally, as I hear of companies laying people off rather than pay them a living wage, I’ll be making a note never to buy products from them.

Instead, I’ll support Thai companies that do believe paying a fair wage for a fair day’s work is the best way to run a company.  Like the companies in this Bangkok Post article for instance, who already pay more than the new minimum wage – JMart, IT City and Zeer Rangsit Shopping Centre already pay their employees more than 300 baht a day. Now there are a few companies I’ll be shopping at.

As for the new 300 baht per day minimum wage, how much is that in US dollars? Working 28 days a month, with only two days off (normal in Thailand), at the new minimum wage would give a Thai employee 8,400 baht a month or approximately $277. And, yes, in Thailand that is still almost impossible to live on.

The Thai ultra-rich who think this increase is “unnecessary” should be ashamed of themselves.