Hong Kong’s first minimum wage came into effect yesterday amid rising public anger over sky-high rents and a growing income gap in the international financial hub.
The controversial pay floor, which divided business and labor groups for years, requires employers to pay staff at least HK$28 (US$3.60) an hour.
Critics have said the figure is still too low for many low-income people struggling to make ends meet. However, business groups have warned that the new law would lead to widespread job losses.
The territory is famous for its stunningly wealthy tycoons whose business empires span all sectors of Hong Kong’s economy and the world. However, it is also home to hundreds of thousands of workers who live on hourly wages sometimes as low as US$2 an hour.
The government has previously said more than 300,000 workers were likely to see their pay rise as a result of the new legislation.
On Saturday, hundreds of workers marched in the streets, claiming some employers had changed staff contracts to cut benefits, such as paid rest days, ahead of the new law, radio RTHK reported.
In an editorial, the Sunday Morning Post described the new wage floor as a “step in the right direction.”
“There’s no better time for the legislation to take effect,” the Post said. “Anxiety is high about the wealth gap and social equity. The government is under fire, accused of colluding with big business at the expense of the poor.”
“It’s these people, on the bottom rung of the social ladder, who will benefit most from the minimum wage,” the editorial said.
Hong Kong’s labor boss acknowledged that “teething problems are inevitable in launching a major -initiative of such magnitude.”
“We are entering uncharted waters in Hong Kong’s social development,” Hong Kong Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung (張建宗) said in a statement.
In January, Hong Kong lawmakers gave final approval for the new minimum wage, well below the level found elsewhere in the developed world, with union Legislator Lee Cheuk-yan (李卓人) describing it at the time as “a victory with regrets.”
‘ACCORDING TO PLAN’: A company official said that it has set up production sites worldwide to provide services and that its Wisconsin project was going smoothly Hon Hai Precision Industry Co’s (鴻海精密) smart manufacturing center in Wisconsin would begin trial manufacturing in the middle of this year, the company said yesterday, adding that it plans to build a research institute to develop key technologies to support growth over the next five years. Hon Hai, known internationally as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), said in an annual report submitted to the Taiwan Stock Exchange that its planned Foxconn Institute for Research in Science and Technology would conduct research into artificial intelligence, next-generation communications, quantum computing, cybersecurity and nano semiconductors in Taiwan. Hon Hai is to make products at the center
TV and online retailer Momo.com Inc (富邦媒體) yesterday said it has set up a new logistics subsidiary, Fu Sheng Logistics Co (富昇物流), to oversee the company’s extensive shipping operations. Leveraging Momo’s 23 satellite warehouses and distribution centers nationwide, Fu Sheng will be in charge of executing the retailer’s same-day shipment plan for deliveries in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung, Momo said in a press release. Seeking to further shorten its supply chain, the company is to set up another seven satellite warehouses and distribution centers by the end of the year. “Fu Sheng has a fleet of 200 couriers
STAYING AHEAD: Fitch said that TSMC remains technologically ahead of others, but Samsung is building a new chip fab, while China is investing in its domestic industry As escalating US-China tensions and COVID-19-related production disruptions force US technology supply chains to transform, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) US$12 billion chip fabrication plant in Arizona would be key to spurring greater US production of core semiconductor components, Fitch Ratings said. “We view the US-TSMC alliance as a first step in building a more autonomous US technology supply chain, given high barriers to entry, specifically related to the significant capital and design capability required for leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing,” Fitch said in a statement on Tuesday. “By working with TSMC, US chipmakers will not face the financial burden of incremental investment
E Ink Holdings Inc (元太科技), the world’s sole supplier of e-paper displays for e-readers and shelf labels, posted its best quarterly net profit for the first quarter in nine years amid increased demand during a traditionally slow season. Net profit soared 80 percent to NT$787 million (US$26.23 million) in the quarter ended March 31, compared with NT$438 million a year earlier. That translated into earnings per share of NT$0.69, up from NT$0.39. E Ink posted lower royalty income of NT$371.23 million last quarter from NT$448.74 million a year earlier, a company financial statement showed. E Ink said that it expects royalty income to