Wed, Aug 15, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Labor groups demand minimum wage hike

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Members of several labor organizations hold signs outside the Ministry of Labor in Taipei yesterday, calling on the government to raise the minimum monthly salary to NT$28,862 and the minimum hourly wage to NT$182.

Photo: Lee Ya-wen, Taipei Times

A coalition of labor rights groups yesterday called for higher minimum wages at a rally outside the Ministry of Labor ahead of a government meeting to determine next year’s minimum wages.

Statistics released by the ministry last year showed that there were 2 million people who receive a minimum monthly salary of NT$22,000 or a minimum hourly wage of NT$140.

About 30 representatives from the Taipei City Confederation of Trade Unions, Taoyuan Confederation of Trade Unions, Taiwan International Workers’ Association and other groups demanded that the government raise the monthly minimum salary to NT$28,862 and the minimum hourly wage to NT$182.

Although the government has been raising the minimum wage almost every year over the past decade, the average increase was less than 2 percent, said Solidarity Labor Union secretary-general Huang Yu-te (黃育德), who led the demonstration.

Compared with other developed nations, Taiwan’s minimum wage is far too low, he said.

For the average worker, simply asking for a raise would not yield any result, he said, adding that if the government really cares about workers, it should help them by raising the legal minimum wage.

He was referring to Premier William Lai’s (賴清德) comment on Monday last week that people paid less than the national average monthly salary of NT$48,000 should demand a raise from their bosses.

In Yilan County, while consumer goods prices have risen significantly since the completion of the Hsuehshan Tunnel (雪山隧道), which connects the county to Taipei, salaries have remained the same for most people, Yilan Confederation of Trade Unions president Lu Hsueh-min (呂學民) said.

For example, a bowl of lamb soup used to cost only NT$40, but now costs NT$70, Lu said.

Most of the profit brought by the tourism boost goes into the pockets of employers, he said, adding that a higher minimum wage would help ensure a more equitable distribution of company profits.

The ministry will keep an open mind and respect the conclusion of the meeting on the minimum wage tomorrow, a ministry official said after the demonstration.

Additional reporting by CNA

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