Living Wage Thailand

Living Wage Thailand

From Steve Reilly

Direct giving to Thai families to create opportunity and education for their children to have a better life. Using every penny to help the neediest Thai people.

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Two years ago, I moved to Thailand, met the love of my life and planned on living out my retirement years in wedded bliss and surfing. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I have a keen sense for injustice and quickly became disgusted by how much foreigners exploit the Gentle Kingdom’s people for their own personal enrichment.

It is obvious that many foreigners, mostly French, British, Germans and Australians practice a sort of economic colonialism by exploiting cheap labor and corrupt officials to finance their lavish lifestyle in their home countries. Because of the lax labor laws these scoundrels pay their people as little as they can and treat them like lower class citizens often times as low paid slaves.

This is particularly pervasive in the property maintenance/management business which is huge because of all the housing developments designed specifically for foreign buyers and often used as Airbnb rental units. The property management business includes pool, garden, maintenance and other services used by owners to maintain their properties especially when they are enjoying the summer months in their home country. 

Almost all property management and real estate companies are owned by foreigners (forangs) regularly exploiting and abusing their employees and siphoning off their profits to their home countries. The Thai Government sets the minimum wage at 313 THB per day or about $10 with no requirement to provide raises or advancement opportunities for any of their employees. I know one gardener who has worked for minimum wage for 12 years without a single increase in salary. And this is for working in the hot sun, stifling humidity and monsoon rains. The workers get no time off to tend to their family needs like doctor appointments, taking care of family or tending to sick parents. Their employers regularly deduct earnings for missing days due to sickness, motorbike accidents (which are common) or any other unexpected calamity.

The Thai people are poor. Not like US homeless poor, they are poor poor. Wages in Thailand averaged 9900.06 THB/Month ($317) from 1999 until 2020, or $3,800 per year.

Living in dilapidated houses, driving a broken-down motorbike as the family’s only means of transportation, finding ways to feed their family on less than $4 per day with no paid vacation days, no education assistance and no opportunity to create a better life for their children. COVID has been devasting to their country. They have no choice but to continue to work for exploitive and unfair employers because other potential employment options have been devastated by the virus.

The Thai people are special. These economic colonialists will tell you that the Thai people are lazy and dishonest. This is a lie. The Thai people act as they are treated. If you exploit them, they will exploit you in return. If you lie to them, they will lie to you as well. If you are not loyal to them, they will be disloyal to you.

But if you treat them with the respect and fairness they deserve, you will see the best in them. The Thai people are the most gentle, generous and joyful people I have met in my many years working in almost every country on the planet. In spite of being among the poorest on the planet, they share everything they have with family, friends and strangers. I have never experienced the level of spontaneous generosity and caring from any other people.

There are some things I believe in life are true. If you are rich, you should be generous. If you have privileged, you should be grateful. If you are healthy, you should care for others.

My wife, Hoosna, is Thai/Canadian having been raised in Bangkok and educated in Montreal. She is fluent in Thai, English and French and has years of experience in property management both here and in Canada. She is also one of the most caring, honest and thoughtful people I have ever known. Oh, and she is a devout Buddhist. She is the most amazing PR person I have ever met living and breathing kindness and compassion. 

We are creating a different kind of business model for property management in Thailand. 

Our Mission Statement is:

Our Mission at HSR Services is to provide our employees with work they can be proud of, to treat them with respect, to ensure they make a living wage and the opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of their families. We do this by being the best pool, garden, maintenance, sales and rentals business is Hua Hin. We seek to employ the best, most reliable, hardest working and loyal people we can find. We know that only by ensuring reliable, quality and responsive services to our customers can we fulfill our mission. We reinvest our profits into our people. When we make more money, we pay our people more. When we grow, our people grow with us. When our customers are happy, them we are happy. Our owner, Hoosna Somsak, takes no salary preferring instead to use that money to help Thai people, whether through better pay and promotion opportunities or supporting local charities and the neediest causes.Hoosna and I have enough money to live comfortably for the rest of our lives. We are not rich but with smart retirement savings on my part, social security and few bills, we want for very little. We are not doing this for us. We are doing this to set an example for others that giving the Thai people a job that offers fair wages, respect and opportunity is a viable business model in our town and throughout Thailand. We also want to shame the economic colonialists into better business practices by recruiting their best people to our organization.

Our funds distribution model is best called direct giving. Every penny received will go directly to the neediest people we can find. There are no administrative costs or overhead fees as we are retired and have the time, resources and business knowledge to make an efficient and effective giving organization. 

We leave the amount of the GFM goal open as we will plow every cent into ensuring the Thai people have a living wage, opportunity and a job/company they can be proud of.

Please help us make a difference in the lives of the Thai people. A little goes a very long way and we will ensure it goes as far as it can.

Thank you, 

Steve and Hoosna

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