The minimum wage could be raised following a committee meeting in July, Council of Labor Affairs Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) said yesterday.
Wang told the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee that as the economy continues to strengthen following the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, “employees’ share of the fruits of their labor” is too low.
As such, the council will actively seek to adjust the minimum wage “in a positive direction,” she said.
Data from the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) showed that after inflation was factored in, real wages for workers in Taiwan had declined by more than NT$100 per month from the period prior to the global financial crisis, legislators said.
Wang said that despite non-mandatory efforts on the part of the council to encourage businesses to raise wages, employers had not given workers a fair share of the rising profits as demand picks up.
Nominal wages rose to NT$44,430 per month last year, which was close to wage levels prior to the financial crisis, she said.
However, that is “not enough,” especially amid rising consumer prices, Wang said, adding that this year was the right time to talk about raising the minimum wage.
“For many of our friends in the workforce, it is important that they receive a fair share of the economic gain,” they help produce, she said. “We hope [minimum wage adjustment] will head in a proactive, positive direction.”
The scale of the adjustment will depend on a number of economic indicators, such as the unemployment rate, GDP growth and consumer prices, she said. Economic data released at the end of this month will also be key to the committee’s decision-making process.
The council announced in September that the minimum wage adjustment committee had agreed to raise the minimum monthly wage from NT$17,280 to NT$17,880, effective on Jan. 1 this year. At the same time, the minimum hourly wage was raised by NT$3 to NT$98.
The move was widely criticized by labor groups, which said the small adjustments had no significant impact on workers and they accused the council of failing to protect the nation’s most-underprivileged workers.
Dissatisfaction with wages comes amid signs of a widening wealth gap. The DGBAS said in December that the wealth gap is growing, with the average income of the top earners standing at 8.22 times that of those in the bottom pay bracket in 2009. That contrasted sharply with statistics from 2001, when the factor was 5.5.
Ministry of Finance data showed that the average income of the top 20 percent of households was NT$2.3 million (US$71,875) in 2008, while the average income of the bottom 20 percent of households was NT$189,000.
Additional reporting by staff writer
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,