Legislators across party lines yesterday urged the government to take action against rising commodity prices as hikes in fuel and food costs eat into incomes and to step up efforts to boost the job market.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) said the starting salary of NT$22,000 (US$740) to NT$25,000 per month for new college graduates was not enough to meet higher living costs.
He suggested that the government review Taiwan’s temporary contract job system, which tends to keep pay levels and benefits low, and consider increasing unemployment benefits and employment subsidies.
People First Party Legislator Thomas Lee (李桐豪) said that a pay raise of 3 percent for average workers in January last year was not enough to offset the rising cost of living. The problem was particularly daunting for individuals in the 15 to 24 age bracket, which faces an unemployment rate of 12.7 percent, he said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chen Pi-han (陳碧涵) said the government should put more emphasis on helping younger workers, with 41.7 percent of the nation’s jobless population in the 20 to 29 age bracket. She said authorities should look into the compatibility of university-level courses and market demand.
KMT Legislator Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛) highlighted the nation’s increasing brain drain as other countries offer favorable terms to recruit skilled professionals. Singapore, for example, has friendly immigration policies while China uses high fees for research and accommodation subsidies, she said.
The lawmakers’ remarks came a day after state-run oil CPC Corp, Taiwan announced that the price for liquefied petroleum gas sold in cylinders would rise NT$2 per kilogram and that for liquefied natural gas piped to users would go up NT$0.5 per cubic meter, effective yesterday.