Thailand recommends 7 per cent hike for daily minimum wages

A 7 percent increase to 330 baht ($10.33) in the daily minimum wages has been recommended by Thailand’s Central Wage Committee. This increase has been recommended in two of its most industrialized provinces Chonburi and Rayong.

The committee endorsed increases between 5 to 22 baht across Thailand’s 77 provinces starting April, Jarin Chakkaphark, permanent secretary of the labour ministry, told reporters post the panel meet late on Wednesday.

For Bangkok, the capital, and six nearby provinces, the committee recommended the minimum wage should be increased by 4.8 percent to 325 baht ($10.17) per day.

These increases would place Thailand, along with Malaysia and the Philippines, among the countries with the highest minimum monthly wages in Southeast Asia.

With respect to Vietnam, a regional manufacturing base, the government’s minimum wage range is $113.61-$165.13 per month. In Cambodia, a global garment-making hub, the minimum monthly wage for garment workers is approximately $170.

The committee’s recommendation must be approved by Cabinet prior to being brought into effect. The committee stated that the new wage, once approved by Cabinet – a mere formality – will commence from April 2018.

Thailand ranks among the world’s top automotive export countries and is a regional manufacturing hub, especially for Japanese carmakers. It also features among the world’s top exporters of rice, shrimp, rubber and sugar. ($1 = 31.9600 baht)

Sources – ReutersIndian Express

Prostitution racket busted in Cyberabad massage parlours

The Special Operation Team of Cyberabad busted a prostitution racket in 12 massage parlours and spas in Hyderabad on August 19. Approximately 65 women have been rescued in this operation, out of which 34 are from Thailand and 21 from North-eastern states.

The 12 places raided were all in the prime IT area-Gachibowli and Madhapur, and some of them were in posh commercial areas. According to the Indian Express, a police official said, “We found that these centers have been indulging in women trafficking by procuring girls from Thailand, Northeastern states and some local girls. They were virtually running brothel houses under the guise of massage or spa parlours.”

The Cyberabad police arrested the owner of Tripad Venus and Healing Services Pvt Ltd, Dasari Sidhartha, who operated these parlours. His business partners Venkatareddy and Balasubramanyam have been absconding. Sidhartha, along with agents in Bangkok and Mumbai duped several women under the false pretence of offering jobs in massage centres on monthly payment; and would confiscate their passport once the women reached Hyderabad. The accused earned 90 lakhs per month from these massage parlours.

Police also stated that the parlours allowed cross gender massage which is illegal. As per the law, only male masseurs can attend male customers and vice-a-versa. In addition to this, it was found out that the spas broke the norms including transparent glass doors, CCTV cameras and maintaining registers for recording customer preferences.

Meanwhile, the rescued women will be shifted to protection home.

Sources: Indian Express, Hindu

Thailand’s new labor rules sends migrant workers back home

Migrant workers from Thailand have returned to their neighboring home countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. Immigration officials stated on Monday, 3rd July 2017 that ten thousand workers have fled the country as the military government sparked panic and fear among the migrant community.

According to the Labor regulations which came to effect on June 23, 2017, foreign workers lacking proper permits can be sentenced up to five years in prison, while their employers could face fines of up to $23,500 (800,000 baht).

Prayuth Chan-Ocha, Thai Prime Minister succumbing to pressure from the industries employing migrants, said that he’ll grant an extension of 120-days for the worker registration deadline.

Around 2.6 millions of workers from economically backward neighbors, such as Cambodia and Myanmar, from the pillar of Thailand’s manual labor force. Most of them are estimated to be working illegally in low-paying or dangerous jobs that the Thais are hesitant to take, in areas such as farming, fishing, and construction. The multi-billion-dollar seafood business is largely dependent on foreign workers.

Since June 29, over 16,000 citizens have returned to Myanmar and up to 500 migrant workers from Cambodian reached home in the past week.This mass movement has turned undocumented workers vulnerable and is causing distress among poor laborers. The cost of migrant workers fleeing the country is high. While some employers are bearing the costs, many other employees are being fired without notice or compensation.

Sources: Reuters, ABC News

Image source: The Associated Press

Thailand’s Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn proclaimed new King

Following the death of his father, Thai Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was invited by the country’s Parliament to succeed as the next king.  Maha Vajiralongkorn has agreed to accept the wishes of the late King Bhumilbol Adulyadej in the interest of the people of Thailand.

He will now be known as King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun – the 10th Monarch of the Chakri dynasty, and will also be revered as Rama X.

Maha Vajiralongkorn was given the title of crown prince in 1972, thereby making in the official heir to his father’s throne.

The new king met Pornpetch Wichitcholchai who is the president of the National Legislative Assembly at the Dusit Palace in Bangkok.

King Bhumibol was known for his ability to keep good relations during many years of political differences and simultaneous expansion of the country’s infrastructure.

In 2014, the military overthrew an elected government, forcing political calm in the country. In these times it was King Bhumilbol who helped bind the dispute.

The new king like his father before, is bounded by the Thai laws that shield him from public criticism. He will be expected to endorse a constitution drawn up by the military which will lead the way to fresh elections in 2017.

Source – Al Jazeera, BBC, Reuters

VP concludes 3-day visit to Brunei, arrives at Thailand

BANGKOK:  Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari departed to Thailand, for the second phase of his two-nation visit on Wednesday, after culminating his three-day tour to Brunei. It is during this visit that he held meetings with the top executives belonging to the gas and oil-rich country and also administered signing of three agreements.

At the University of Brunei Darussalam, he delivered a lecture in the morning before departing for the airport. Three additional agreements between India and Brunei took place, based on health and sports, youth issues and defense cooperation.

This being the first visit in 50 years, by an Indian Vice President to Thailand, he was received at the airport by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong. Thai Prime Minister, Payut Chan-ocha has organized a banquet in Mr. Ansari’s Honour.

As per reports, the VP would be delivering a speech on ‘From Look East to Act East: India’s Partnership with Thailand and ASEAN’, at the Chulalongkorn University of Bangkok, at an event hosted by the Indian Ambassador to Thailand. He would also be meeting the Princess of the nation, before returning to Delhi on Friday.

Sources: NDTVIndia Tv News


2 dead and over 60 injured in fresh clashes in Thailand

Picture Courtesy: BBC
In a fresh row of clashes and protests in the anti-government violence that has ripped apart Thailand since last November, around 60 people are reported to be injured with a civilian and police official dead since this morning.

Dozens of people have been arrested and injured since the clash between the Thai police and the civilians took place as police tried to clear the demonstrations and protests outside a minister’s building earlier in the day. In a call that the government had signaled regarding retaking over the besieged building by the civilians this week while the protesters ask for the government to step down, the police as it seems has had failed to come to negotiations with them; a process that they had started few days back.

On Tuesday, protest leader and former opposition politician Suthep Thaugsuban said in an address to police: “We are not fighting to get power for ourselves. The reforms we will set in motion will benefit your children and grandchildren, too. The only enemy of the people is the Thaksin regime.”

There have been gunshots heard around the capital area near the Democracy monument in central Bangkok while reports of police being injured by grenade attacks and shrapnel from bomb blasts are at large. The prime minister’s office, Government House, has been a focal point for the demonstrators with thousands even protesting last evening forcing the gates to shut in a bid to stop officials returning to work.