Business groups halt wage hike bill’s third reading
The controversial Kuomintang(KMT) proposed amendments to promote wage increases (
) for local workers, originally scheduled for a third reading at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, were met with opposition by business groups and recalled by the Legislative Yuan New Alliance (LYNA, ). Further discussion with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is currently arranged for next Thursday, according to the KMT. LYNA’s Lee Tung- hao ( ) said that the party’s recalling of the package was based upon concerns over populism legislation, and explained that the KMT’s rushed attempt at passing the debatable proposal, along with the DPP and the People First Party’s (PFP, ) passive supervision of the ruling party, had spurred on their decision.
Lee reiterated that LYNA supports the amendments; however, the proposal lacks clarification on how enterprises would give back to employees. “All three parties should consider an in- depth discussion instead of rushing head on to pass the amendment,” Lee said, pointing out that rashly passing the package would turn the Legislative Yuan into a laughing stock; the proposal even contained spelling mistakes.
The proposed package originally saw high hopes of passing three of the four sets of laws yesterday — the Labor Standards Act, the Company Act and the Factory Act. The fourth law, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, required debate due to conflicts of interests regarding wage increase levels and the deduction of taxes.
In response to the recalled package, Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng ( ) said that continual harmony between enterprises and employees is the most important aspect, and the ultimate goal is to construct a plan that is beneficial for both sides.
However, Wang also found it puzzling that the Executive Yuan ( ) never brought forward its own version of the wage increase package, saying it was “not the norm in these cases.”
Discussion with DPP Scheduled
for Next Thursday: KMT
KMT caucus whip Lai Shyh-bao ( ) said that the consultation is scheduled for next Thursday, and that the party will continue to advocate the amendments.
Lai said that the party is “reluctantly respectful” of LYNA’s decision to recall the package, but remained optimistic about next Thursday’s discussion, which will be held by Wang himself.
“Discussions held by Speaker Wang will always bring out results,” Lai said, further explaining that the opposition party held reservations about the 29th Regulation under the Labor Standards Act, rather than the 235th Regulation under the Company Act.
On the other hand, while KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng ( ) described the proposed package as a “desperate measure,” the KMT will respect any enterprises holding doubts about the amendment package, Wu said.
Wu also implored enterprises not to resort to moving companies out of Taiwan as a way to scare Taiwanese citizens and threaten the government and Legislative Yuan. Rather, Wu hopes enterprises will take this opportunity to “lead by example” and provide increased wages for employees.
KMT Legislator Liao Kuotung ( ) reported that after Thursday’s discussion, the wage increase proposal will be sent into Legislative Yuan sittings on Friday.