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Burmese workers are unlikely to see the benefit of Phuket's higher wage

Phuket Wage Tipped to Rocket Past Bangkok

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
PHUKET authorities are seeking a minimum daily wage of 214 baht for workers from next year - which could make the island's new pay rate the highest daily minimum wage in Thailand.

The reason for the 10 baht increase from 204 baht this year is the dramatic rise in the cost of essentials such as food, transport and accommodation.

At present Phuket lies behind only Bangkok and the capital's neighbor, Samutprakan, with their minimum daily wage of 206 baht, with other near-neighbors Nakhonpathom, Nonthaburi, Samut Sakhon and Pathumthani on 205 baht.

But even the nation's capital may fall behind the holiday island if the large increase is approved, as anticipated. Last year, the Phuket minimum was 197 baht. An indication of the speedy upward trend is that Bangkok was then on 203 baht.

While Bangkok rose three baht, Phuket shot up seven baht. This year's increase amounted to a three percent rise. Next year's proposed increase is a four percent rise.

The minimum wage should also flow on to the estimated 200,000 legal and illegal Burmese workers on Phuket. However, only the most honest and generous employers maintain the standard for immigrant laborers.

The bid to lift Phuket's minimum wage was agreed today at a meeting at Provincial Hall involving representatives from the Phuket Labor Office, the Phuket Construction Association, the Phuket Fishermen's Association, the Phuket Chamber of Commerce and the Office of Commercial Affairs, Phuket.

Vice Governor Tree Ackradacha said the new, increased recommendation for 2011 was likely to be accepted by the national government.

Tourism tended to push prices higher for everyone, the meeting heard.

Some provinces have much lower rates. In the Andaman, the rates are Ranong, 173 baht; Phang Nga, 173 baht; Krabi 170 baht; Trang 162 baht; Satun 159 baht. The lowest rates in Thailand are in the northern and Isarn provinces.

Phuket no longer grows its own food so transport costs figure more highly on the island than in agricultural provinces. Even most fish and seafood has to be imported now from neighboring provinces.
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