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Trade Union Body To Seek Hike In Minimum Wage

Source: Vientiane Times

The Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU) plans to ask the government to approve an increase in the monthly minimum wage from 1.1 million kip to 1.3 million or 1.5 million kip.

It is widely recognised that a monthly income of 1,100,000 kip is not enough to live on, with the cost of household goods steadily increasing and causing hardship for numerous families.

Vice President of the LFTU, Mr Athilath Oudomdeth, told Vientiane Times on Thursday that the details of the issue will be reported at the Federation’s annual meeting in December with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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The meeting will discuss a pay rise, which is seen as crucial to improving workers’ standards of living amid rising costs. Prices and inflation are increasing on a yearly and sometimes monthly basis.

Mr Athilath urged employers to sympathise with their workers, pointing out that they are the ones who enable a profit to be made.
The LFTU will submit a proposal to the government which, if approved, could be implemented under a decree issued by the Prime Minister on May 1, 2022.

Mr Athilath said he believed many employers did not have a good understanding of the concept of a legal minimum wage, or other lawful benefits for workers such as overtime pay.

While some employers have said that a wage increase may make recruitment more difficult, many business operators believe that an increase in pay will attract workers who might otherwise look for jobs in neighbouring countries, where wages are higher.

Local authorities are currently collecting information from village officials and factories about the number of people in need of work as well as factories’ requirements, in cooperation with the LFTU and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

The last time the minimum wage was increased was in 2018.

In 2012 the government raised the minimum wage from 348,000 kip to 626,000 kip a month, and in 2015 ordered a further hike to 900,000 kip a month.