The National Committee on Fixing the Minimum Wage has decided to set it at 4800 kyat, said Thein Swe, Union Minister for Labour, Immigration and Population at the committee’s fourth meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on December 29.
The committee has decided to apply the same daily minimum wage in all regions and states to all businesses with 10 or more workers.
The current minimum wage is 3600 kyat.
“I believe that workers will favour it, said the minister, who also chairs the national committee.
The decision was made after the committee took account of wage rates, GDP, inflation rates in neighbouring countries, views from experts, attitudes of employers and employees and other research.
Coordination will be made if both employers and employees are not fully satisfied with the decision.
The committee will forward their decision to the Union government for approval. It will be approved within 60 days, barring widespread opposition.
Employer representatives claim the rate increase is too high, while labour representatives said it is too low.
Employer representative Khaing Khaing Nwe opposed the decision. “The decision to increase the daily minimum wage … to 4800 kyat may become a heavy burden to employers,” he said. “In addition, employers already suffer from other heavy burdens such as high tax rates, transportation costs and bank interest rates. We officially oppose this decision and are unable to pay this rate.”
He continued: “Tax rates, production costs and energy supply costs are relatively higher compared with those in other countries. Employers will find it difficult to survive if the authorities are unable to reduce other costs. We will discuss the new rate with employers.”
Employee representative Naw Aung was disappointed in the increase. “Workers may not be satisfied with this decision as the new rate doesn’t meet their expectations,” said Naw Aung. “We have submitted a proposal to pay five per cent of salary as an increment and expert fee.
He continued: “We will monitor the committee’s decision. We will continue speaking up based on the responses from the labour federation and workers.”