Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Private-sector salaries

During the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) time in government, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) protested against every suggestion that salaries for military personnel, civil servants and public-school teachers be raised.

The reason was the difficult fiscal situation: The general public had not benefited from the improved economy, living standards had not improved and civil servants shared the hardship. Considering such salary increases were deemed proper only once national finances had improved.

Some people think that the policy U-turn is either an attempt to pander to civil servants or part of the preparation for next year’s local elections.

The government thinks that the economy is showing signs of picking up, but the general public is not benefiting.

With salaries at the same level they were stuck at a dozen years ago and continuous high unemployment, just having a stable job is reason to celebrate.

Raising civil servants’ salaries by 3 percent will cost tax payers NT$18 billion (US$597.89 million) per year. The Directorate-General of Personnel Administration estimates that the total, including personnel administration costs, will be closer to NT$40 billion.

Add to this the cost of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program and we are left wondering where the money will come from.

It is a good thing that the government wants to take the lead in initiating a general salary increase in the private sector.

How to make employers follow suit and raise workers’ salaries will now be up to Premier William Lai (賴清德) and his Cabinet’s ability to negotiate and follow through on its promise without ending up in a situation where everyone is unhappy.

Wu Yi-chung

Chiayi County

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