Thu, Aug 09, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Labor rights groups, low-paid students unite over wages

Staff writer, with CNA

Members of the Labor Rights Association stage a skit outside the Council of Labor Affairs in Taipei yesterday.

Photo courtesy of the Labor Rights Association

A labor group demanded yesterday that the minimum monthly wage be raised to NT$22,000 (US$734), saying that workers earning minimum wage are relatively economically disadvantaged and often bear the full brunt of economic turbulence.

The Labor Rights Association staged a skit outside the Council of Labor Affairs yesterday, demanding that the minimum monthly salary to be raised from its current level of NT$18,780.

The group also demanded that minimum hourly pay be boosted from its current level of NT$103 to between NT$121 and NT$137.

Association head Wang Chuan-ping (王娟萍) said low-paid workers are more vulnerable to economic shocks and said that the minimum wage should be raised immediately to help workers “weather the winter of an economic crisis.”

In addition, Wang said her association is opposed to the idea of a dual-track minimum wage system for local and foreign workers.

“A dual-track system is obviously employment discrimination and a violation of international regulations,” she said. “It will also negatively impact local employees’ salaries.”

Shih Hsien (施暹), a psychology student at Hsuan Chuang University, was among a group of students who took part in the rally. Shih makes NT$105 an hour working at an Apple Inc store and he said the money he makes each month covers only food and basic expenses.

“I can only use summer and winter breaks to work more to pay my rent and student loans,” he said, adding that if the basic hourly salary was adjusted to NT$120, he might be able to save some money after paying his bills.

Council of Labor Affairs Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) said previously that the council intends to raise the hourly salary to NT$115 and the monthly wage to at least NT$19,000 this year.

The association’s protest was held ahead of a meeting of the Minimum Wage Review Committee scheduled to take place today, where the committee is to discuss whether the current minimum monthly and hourly wages should be adjusted.

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