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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Thailand, Lesson 11 – Labor Day
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Thailand Series at ThaiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Thai holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 11, Labor Day. In Thai, it’s called วันแรงงาน (wan raaeng ngaan).
In this lesson, we’ll be discussing National Labor Day, which falls on May 1 each year. Thai people appreciate the importance of labor and recognize the rights that workers deserve. To express this recognition, the government declared this day a holiday to provide an opportunity for workers to fully rest and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
In Thailand, government agencies operate as usual on Labor Day. Why is that so?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
On the morning of Labor Day, the Minister of Labor presides over a Buddhist merit making ceremony. In Thai, ceremony is พิธี (phí-thii). Afterwards, workers will march together peacefully to attend the official opening ceremony of Labor Day, which is lead by the Prime Minister or นายกรัฐมนตรี (naa-yók rát-thà-mon-dtrii). Labor representatives have an opportunity to present problems and requests to the government regarding improvement of their well-being as well as the rights they believe they deserve from employers and the government. Requests change each year, reflecting changes in the economy.
Later, in the afternoon, workers or คนงาน (khon ngaan) have an opportunity to enjoy themselves. The government organizes many activities beneficial to workers, such as educating them on the labor laws and their benefits in the compensation and social funds, a labor meeting event, and consultation on mental health issues with help from hospitals. Well known artists and celebrities even join in to provide a special concert.
Government agencies also celebrate Labor Day, although civil servants do not enjoy a holiday like private company employees. A brief event is held for them in the morning, beginning with merit-making activities, followed by a sports event, or การแข่งขันกีฬา (gaan khàeng-khăn gii-laa), with competition between civil servants and private company employees in order to strengthen friendly relations. Provincial government agencies often include traditional plays in the friendly competition.
In 2016, Thai law enforces a minimum wage, or ค่าจ้างขั้นต่ำ (khâa jâang khân dtàm), for labor workers of at least 300 Baht per day. Compared to the ten neighboring countries in ASEAN, the wage ranks as the 3rd highest. This reflects the country’s attention to the interests of workers.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
In Thailand, government agencies operate as usual on Labor Day. Why is that so?
Civil servants are considered the King’s employees. They are responsible for taking care of the people. Their salary and the benefits their families receive all come from citizens’ and laborers’ taxes. As a result, they do not get a holiday on Labor Day. However, they are able to enjoy public holidays on several other occasions.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Does your country also have a Labor Day?
Leave us a comment telling us at ThaiPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!