Lao government approved a 20% increase in minimum wage for Lao labor.However, even with this increase, the minimum
wage is still 50% lower than what they actually need in order to cover their
cost of living.Thus, our VOA stringer
predicts that the number of illegal laborers sneaking to Thailand to
look for jobs will continue to increase.
According to the Committee of Secretary for
the Prime Minister Office, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Buasone Bouphavanh,
the Lao government officially granted an approval for the increase of minimum
wage of Lao labor from the existing rate of 290,000 Kip to 348,000 Kip per
month This newly approved minimum wage has been in effect since February 18,
2009.This committee also assigned
Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to be in charge of the enforcement of this
newly approved minimum wage.
until now, the specific timeline for this ministry to actually put this newly
approved labor decree to be in force is still not yet specified.This is because this government agency still
wants to give some time to employers who need to prepare for implementation of
this government decree as as they are trying to mitigate the impact of the
current global financial crisis.
new increase of minimum wage, in principal, is 20% higher than the existing
rate; however, the Lao Trade Union previously suggested that the government increase
Lao minimum wage from 290,000 Kip to at least 700,000 Kip per month since the
cost of living in Laos
has been steadily increased since 1997.
Consequently, nowadays, the only possible way that Lao workers to be
able to survive is to work overtime for many hours each day.Under the current situation, the opportunityfor these workers to work over-time is very limited.It is apparent that only few companies, such
as lumber processing and mills, have jobs available for which overtime is
available to their workers.
a result, Lao laborer increasingly sneak and seek opportunities to work illegally
in Thailand, in which they receive wage at a rate that is four times higher
than Lao minimum wage. Even though their wages may be lower than that received
by Thai workers, working in Thailand
provides a better employment opportunity for these laborers unable to earn
enough in Laos
to support themselves.
this, the majority of Lao workers seeking jobs in Thailand does not prefer to apply
via the nine workforce management companies, which received licenses from the
government. Applying through these companies, workers have to pay the premium
of 20,000 Baht as well as go through sophisticated procedure of application.
Thus, they commonly prefer to arrange their travel and seek jobs through Lao-Thai
border labor recruitment brokers.As
stated by Mr. Khampan Inthavong, Director of Lao Labor Promotion who expressed
his concern regarding the current Lao labor status as follows:
current labor status is not so promising because workers who live by the Mekong
from Sayabouly to Champasack and Saravanh, all sneak across the border to seek
work illegally inThailand.
These workers are seasonal laborers, who usually come back to cultivate their
rice during raining season and go to seek jobs in Thailand after the completion of
their crop harvesting. Currently, it is
believed that there are over 400,000 illegal Lao workers in Thailand and this
number is increasingly every year.
reported from Bangko on 02/03/20/09
(English translation by Buasawan Simmala
and Dara Baccam)
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