Shih Ming-teh urges wage hike in ‘Robin hood’ pol­icy

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY GRACE TING- ANN LEE

In­de­pen­dent pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Shih Ming-teh ( ) says that the min­i­mum wage level in Tai­wan should be in­creased and that he hopes to pro­tect the rights and in­ter­ests of all peo­ple in Tai­wan as a left wing can­di­date through his “Robin Hood Pol­icy.”

He spoke at a press con­fer­ence yesterday in Taipei.

"Tai­wan is stuck in the ar­gu­ment of uni­fi­ca­tion and in­de­pen­dence, and also stuck in the col­ors of po­lit­i­cal par­ties,” which af­fects peo­ple’s right to choose a gov­ern­ment sup­port­ing their own plight, Shih said.

He ac­cused the Kuom­intang ( KMT), Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party (DPP) and Peo­ple First Party (PFP) of all be­ing right wing par­ties that ne­glect the work­ing class due to their con­nec­tions with busi­nesses and cap­i­tal­ists. He stated that only by ad­just­ing the min­i­mum wage level can a more just so­ci­ety be cre­ated. Shih urged that cur­rent min­i­mum wage lev­els be in­creased to NT$27,199 a month (ap­prox­i­mately US$846).

Na­tional Tai­wan Univer­sity Eco­nom­ics Pro­fes­sor Ken­neth Lin ( ) ex­plained that the min­i­mum wage should be based on the av­er­age of min­i­mum liv­ing ex­penses per per­son (NT$12,363) times the em­ploy­ment- based de­pen­dency ra­tio (2.2), which is much higher than the cur­rent level (NT$20,008). “It is right for la­bor­ers to live with dig­nity and to have a de­cent stan­dard of liv­ing,” Lin also said that rais­ing the min­i­mum wage level to NT$27,199 is “one of the most min­i­mal and ex­pan­sive fis­cal poli­cies.”

The Min­istry of La­bor held a meet­ing on rais­ing min­i­mum wage lev­els on Wed­nes­day, where ne­go­ti­a­tions broke down. The strug­gling econ­omy and likely pres­sure from in­dus­trial lead­ers were cited as fac­tors.

How­ever, Lin stated that “eco­nomic growth is not di­rectly re­lated to wage growth,” and pointed out that through an in­crease in wages for work­ers, con­sumer spend­ing can perk up the econ­omy. Shih added that the rea­son why author­i­ties refuse to raise wage lev­els to NT$27,199 is not only for fear of of­fend­ing cor­po­ra­tions, but also “the dis­crim­i­na­tion to­ward the work­ing class,” which Shih stated is not ac­cept­able.

As a for­mer chair­man of the DPP, Shih in­tends to run for pres­i­dent in 2016 as an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date. He stressed that while most ad­vanced coun­tries im­ple­ment left and right wing pol­i­tics, all of the po­lit­i­cal par­ties in Tai­wan are mostly right wing. He vowed to steer his cam­paign theme to up­hold­ing so­cial jus­tice and solv­ing prob­lems re­gard­ing the un­equal dis­tri­bu­tion of re­sources.

Grace Ting-ann Lee, Spe­cial to the China Post

In­de­pen­dent pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Shih Ming-teh ( ) speaks at a press con­fer­ence in Taipei, yesterday. Shih said that the min­i­mum wage level in Tai­wan should be in­creased.

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