La­bor groups de­mand min­i­mum wage rise

The China Post - - TAIWAN BUSINESS -

La­bor and other civic groups in Tai­wan de­manded a large in­crease in the coun­try’s min­i­mum wage level Tues­day and urged the Min­istry of La­bor to live stream its up­com­ing min­i­mum wage re­view meet­ing on the In­ter­net so that the public can mon­i­tor its dis­cus­sions.

“We specif­i­cally de­mand that the min­i­mum wage level this year be ad­justed to NT$26,000 (US$810) per month and NT$161 per hour,” Tai­wan Labour Front Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Son Yu liam told re­porters.

He said the fig­ures were cal­cu­lated based on in­ter­na­tional stan­dards and is an amount that the groups be­lieve can sus­tain ba­sic liv­ing in Tai­wan.

Tai­wan’s min­i­mum wage was most re­cently ad­justed July 1, when it was raised by 3.81 per­cent to NT$20,008. The min­i­mum hourly wage was also in­creased to NT$120.

Asked if NT$26,000 is a re­al­is­tic fig­ure, Son said it is a “rea­son­able” one.

The Min­istry of La­bor’s min­i­mum wage re­view com­mit­tee is sched­uled to meet Wed­nes­day to dis­cuss the pos­si­bil­ity of a fur­ther 1.5 per­cent min­i­mum wage hike.

In re­sponse, Son said that a 1.5 per­cent in­crease is un­ac­cept­able and that if it is the fi­nal out­come, he urged la­bor­ers to give the rul­ing party a “slap in the face” in the gen­eral elec­tion five months from now.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent ar­ti­cle by the Eco­nomic Daily News, Chi­nese Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of In­dus­tries Chair­man Rock Hsu crit­i­cized a min­i­mum wage hike at this time as ir­ra­tional, given the cur­rent eco­nomic slow­down, and said it would harm Tai­wan’s small- and medium-sized en­ter­prises.

Hsu cited Tai­wan’s de­clin­ing ex­ports and their ad­verse ef­fects on earn­ings as fac­tors that sug­gest now is not the right time for a min­i­mum wage ad­just­ment.

In re­sponse to con­cerns from busi­ness groups, op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party Leg­is­la­tor Cheng Li-chiun, said the gov­ern­ment should ap­proach eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment with a new mind­set.

Rais­ing the min­i­mum wage can boost do­mes­tic de­mand, re­duce Tai­wan’s re­liance on ex­ports, and spur in­dus­trial up­grad­ing, said Cheng, who is also chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Youth Syn­ergy Tai­wan Foun­da­tion.

“We de­mand that the re­view com­mit­tee be open and trans­par­ent and stream their meet­ing online so that the public can par­tic­i­pate in and mon­i­tor (the meet­ing),” Cheng said.

CNA

Stu­dent vol­un­teers of the Tai­wan Labour Front per­form a skit high­light­ing cor­po­rate pres­sure in the wage ad­just­ment is­sue. The Min­istry of La­bor will hold talks to­mor­row with in­dus­trial and cor­po­rate rep­re­sen­ta­tives to­mor­row on how much to ad­just the min­i­mum wage. Pan­elists rec­om­mended the hourly min­i­mum be raised to NT$161 (ap­prox­i­mately NT$26,000 a month) and that the dis­cus­sions to­mor­row be broad­cast to the public.

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