Thailand hikes minimum wage for first time in over 2 yrs

People wearing face masks shop inside a market amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bangkok, Thailand, November 16, 2021. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Thailand raised its daily minimum wage for the first time in more than two years on Friday, the labour ministry said, as it seeks to help workers cope with rising living costs and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A committee made up of government representatives, companies and labour groups agreed to raise wages by an average of 5.02% from Oct. 1, Boonchob Suthamanaswong, the ministry's permanent secretary, said in a statement.

The minimum wage was last hiked in January 2020, by 1.6%-1.8%.

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The exact rates differ slightly between regions with the three most industrialised provinces - Chonburi, Rayong and Phuket - and the capital Bangkok, at the top end of a 328 baht and 354 baht ($9.11-$9.84) range.

The raise makes Thailand's monthly minimum wage - at 9,840 to 10,620 baht ($273.33-$295.00)- among the highest of its peers in Southeast Asia with such measures.

By comparison, Vietnam, a regional manufacturing base, has a monthly minimum wage of between 3.25 million dong and 4.68 million dong ($138.82-$199.90).

($1 = 36.00 baht)

($1 = 23,412.0 dong)

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Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Satawasin Staporncharnchai Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by John Geddie

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