Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan Presents Policies to MOL Revealing 9 Key Plans and 2 Models to Develop Thai Workforce to ASEAN

Friday, 16 August 2019

          Following Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha’s announcement of a policy to the parliament on July 25 and handover of policies to senior executives on August 8, clear goals have been set to develop Thailand to break out of the middle-income trap. It aims to encourage people of all ages to form a quality workforce that will drive the country to grow sustainably, whereby the Ministry of Labour is the central unit of in national human resource development.
          On August 16, 2019, Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan chaired the meeting to present policies to senior executives, officials, and staff under the Ministry of Labour. Labour Minister M.R. Chatumongol Sonakul gave a welcoming, and Permanent Secretary of Labour Mr. Suthi Sukosol summarized operational results. The Ministry of Labour’s executives also participated in this occasion which took place at the Prof. Nikom Chandravithu conference room, 5th floor, Ministry of Labour. The following nine plans were proposed:
          1. Set clear plans in workforce development to support the Industry 4.0 and government target industries and prepare to support changes in the workforce structure and entry into becoming an aging society.
          2. Produce a quality workforce and develop professional skills for people of all ages to meet business needs in all sectors, including support of development in the eastern special economic zone.
          3. Promote valuable work for all groups of people and create a balanced working environment between work and personal life; protect workers both in and outside the system to receive income, welfare and social security that is sufficient for living.
          4. Create a recognized process through a tripartite mechanism to determine the minimum wage for first-time workers and salaries according to skills and expertise to motivate the workforce towards continuous improvement.
          5. Establish a system for managing foreign workers legitimately; promote and protect Thai workers abroad with dignity, legality, and to prevent fraud in working abroad.
          6. Increase the efficiency of law enforcement to prevent and resolve workforce issues, human trafficking, child labour and labour in the fishing sector.
          7. Promote, protect and develop skills for self-employed workers to have a career, income, social security; promote employment of the elderly, the disabled or former prisoners.
          8. On the registration of foreign workers in all 3 nationalities, to consider the record of private recruitment systems too.
          9. Consider the collection of foreign workers’ identities in all 3 nationalities in the biometric system to develop and connect with the immigration office system.
According to the 9 main plans, 2 models were presented, which were:
          The first model on the registration of foreign workers in all 3 nationalities, considers private recruitment systems to register instead. The systems help streamline services to employers and employees more.
          The second model considered the collection of individual identities of foreign workers from the 3 nationalities in the biometric system, to develop connectivity with the Immigration Bureau. The Ministry of Labour’s system to collect identifiable information will be the same system as the Immigration Bureau for the convenience of personal background checks.
Supporting policies include:
          1. Participate in the development of entrepreneurial potential to compete by developing entrepreneurship skills and leveraging technology to increase productivity.
          2. Develop people as needed by local communities; create short-term skills training courses by working with organizations and the education sector to develop skills that are comparable to credits, in further extension to a community degree.
          3. Join campaigns to prevent and solve drug problems in the workplace.
          4. Support a digital government by raising the level of the National Labour Data Center as a center using Big Data shared with all related departments.
          In addition, General Prawit emphasized that the Ministry of Labour is the primary unit in national human resource development, through plans to develop the workforce to support the Industry 4.0 and government targeted industries, supporting changes in workforce structure and becoming an aging society. It is responsible for producing a quality workforce, developing professional skills in line with the needs of the eastern special economic zone, promoting employment, protecting workers in and outside the system to have income, welfare and social security, and establishing a process of acceptance from stakeholders through a tripartite mechanism for determining the minimum wage for entry workers and wages in accordance with skills and expertise to motivate the workforce for continuous self-development. Furthermore, the Ministry of Labour is responsible for the management of legal foreign workers, promoting and protecting Thai workers abroad with dignity, legality, and preventing fraud. It also works to enhance the efficiency of law enforcement to prevent and solve labour problems, including human trafficking, child labor in the worst form and workers in the fishing sector. The ministry will also work to promote the protection and develop skills for independent workers with occupations, income, and social security, and boost employment for the elderly, the disabled and former prisoners.
According to the Thai Social Situation and Outlook Q1/2019 report by the from the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDB), the current situation of labour is outlined below.
          Non-agricultural employment increased, unemployment decreased, and income and labour productivity increased in Q1/2019. Employment grew by 0.9 percent, an increase of 3.2 percent in non-agricultural sectors and 10.5 percent in the construction sector, in line with the expansion of construction and substantial investment within the government sector. Employment in the industrial sector increased by 1.0 percent, a slowdown in line with production-linked exports. Meanwhile, employment in hotels and restaurants decreased slightly by 0.2 percent, partly due to the downturn in foreign tourists. Employment in the agricultural sector decreased by 4.2 percent; the unemployment rate was 0.9 percent, a decrease of in the population of people who have and have never been employed by 32.2 and 18.7 percent, respectively. Real labour wages in the private sector increased by 2.5 percent, while overall labour productivity continued to grow at 1.8 percent. The labour market became tighter, whereby the number of job applicants is close to the number of vacancies at 0.98 times, a drop from 1.35 times in the same period last year. Considering the level of education, there was a need for labour at the elementary and vocational level, at the double the number of job applicants, reflecting the labour shortage, both in terms of labour and unalignment of skills.
Labour issues to be monitored.
          (1) The drought will affect agricultural activities and farmers' income. From the report on water levels in dams by the Irrigation Department, the amount of water in dams throughout the country is 53 percent of the capacity at medium sea level, with the actual amount of water available at 20 percent (as of May 31, 2019). The water level is critically low, especially from dams in the central and northeastern regions. Farmers should be prepared to deal with the drought, which may change from growing plants requiring more water to rotating plants that use less water.
          (2) The impact of the trade war between the United States and China, which may affect Thailand through exports and tourism. In terms of exports, products that are expected to have a significant impact are electronic products such as internet modems, electronic circuit boards, printed circuit boards, data transmission devices, automotive parts, and construction materials. However, this may not affect employment in the manufacturing sector, much as the industry is a capital intensive. Employment in the tourism service sector should be monitored due to the nature of employment, which is partly temporary following the population of tourists. The total number of Chinese and US tourists accounted for approximately 30 percent of total tourists.
          (3) Adjustment of the labour market under changing technological trends. Today, there is more innovation used in the manufacturing industry. Management requires flexibility and a broader set of skills. Therefore, the workforce must be equipped with the skills needed by the market to accelerate the process by 1) Upskilling workers with new skills such as a flexible workforce for critical tasks and the use of new forms of technology, for example, and 2) Re-skilling, such as the promotion of different skills, under the concept of lifelong learning, especially those at the working age, to be able to develop themselves to support job or career changes needed in the future.




Division of Public Relations/
Information by Division of Strategy and Planning/
Photos by Sompob Silbut/
16 August 2019