Fri, Aug 10, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Council approves minimum wage increase

OPPOSING VIEWS:Labor representatives criticized the adjustments as too small, while business groups said raising salaries during a downturn was costly and wrong

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Labor activists protest outside the Council of Labor Affairs in Taipei yesterday during a meeting of the minimum wage assessment committee. The demonstrators were calling for the minimum monthly wage to be increased to NT$23,151.

Photo: CNA

The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) yesterday announced that the minimum monthly wage would be raised from NT$18,780 to NT$19,047, while the hourly rate would be increased from NT$103 to NT$109 next year, adding that if conditions allow, it would be further raised to NT$115 in 2014.

“After taking into consideration all economic and social conditions, as well as changes in the consumer price index, the minimum monthly wage is to be increased from NT$18,780 to NT$19,047 next year,” Council Minister Jeniffer Wang (王如玄) said after a five-hour meeting of the council’s minimum wage assessment committee.

“To protect the right of part-time workers who are paid by the hour, the minimum hourly wage would be increased in two phases. It would be increased from NT$103 to NT$109 starting next year and further increased to NT$115 in 2014,” she said.

Wang said the conclusions reached at the meeting will be referred to the Executive Yuan, which is widely expected to approve its recommendations.

A council official said that representatives of business and labor groups had a heated debate over the issue at the meeting.

Business representatives held that given a global economic downturn and the debt crisis plaguing Europe, it was not the right time to increase costs for companies, while labor representatives said that with consumer prices rising, workers needed an income boost to support themselves and their families.

“Increasing the minimum wage would discourage investors from investing and it is not good for the economy,” General Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of China representative Wang Ying-chieh (王應傑) said. “The government should help investors clear obstacles — like the minimum wage.”

Wang added that restaurant operators hope that the requirement that part-time workers be given double pay if they work on public holidays would be voided.

Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions secretary-general Hsieh Chuang-chih (謝創智) said the small adjustment in the minimum monthly wage was “unacceptable” and that labor groups regret that the minimum hourly wage could not be adjusted to NT$115 in one move.

“Both President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and CLA Minister Jennifer Wang had repeatedly stated that the minimum hourly wage would be adjusted to NT$115 per hour,” Hsieh said. “We regret that they could not fulfill their own promise.”

Several labor groups staged demonstrations outside the council’s building, while the minimum wage meeting was taking place, urging the council to stand by laborers and defend workers’ rights.

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