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Taiwan to review minimum wage adjustment
Publication Date : 27-08-2013
The annual meeting on Taiwan's minimum wage will reportedly for the first time be moved to the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) this week.
The IOSH, a research agency under the Council of Labour Affairs (CLA), said that the meeting may take up all of Wednesday in an effort to strengthen the dialogue between Taiwan's labour groups and local business representatives.
Given the stagnant economy, the monthly minimum wage will likely remain at the current level of NT$19,047 (US$635), the CLA said. But with regard to the minimum hourly wage, there will be more room for adjustment, it added.
Taiwan's minimum hourly wage currently stands at NT$109, a NT$6 raise from NT$103. The adjustment was legislated in September and took effect earlier this year.
The NT$6 raise came at a time when the government was under increasing pressure to keep wages moving in line with inflation. But the proposal to also raise the monthly
minimum wage was blocked by the cabinet last year due to Taiwan's poor economic performance.
The cabinet will only consider lifting the monthly minimum wage if either gross domestic product increases 3 per cent for two consecutive quarters or unemployment drops below 4 per cent for two months in a row, the report said.
The monthly wage hike was thus imposed earlier in April from the previous NT$18,780 to the NT$19,047 it is now.
Taiwan's overall economic forecast this year has been downgraded to 2.31 per cent, according to the DGBAS. Hindered by slow exports and quantitative easing (QE) in the US, another move to raise the monthly wage in the upcoming meeting on Wednesday will be unlikely.
As part of President Ma Ying-jeou's vow to increase the nation's hourly wage to NT$115 following his re-election last year, the raise will most likely be imposed
beginning next year, or he risks putting a stain on his credibility should his vow “bounce,” according to the report, adding that the CLA hopes to come to an agreement with the business representatives on Wednesday.
Taiwan's six major industry groups have said that now is not the right time to raise the monthly minimum wage given the current global economic transition. Labour groups, however, argue that their minimum wage cannot be overlooked simply based on economic performance, adding that their livelihood greatly depends on it.
The labour groups demand an hourly wage of NT$133 and a monthly wage of NT$22,639.
Hsieh Chuang-chih, the Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions (TCTU) secretary-general, said that should the CLA only raise the hourly wage and fail to raise the monthly minimum wage, then it goes to prove that they are just “face-guarding” Ma's political agenda, and disregarding the living standard of Taiwan's labourers.
“The government should reflect on South Korea's recently raised minimum wage of 7.2 per cent even though their economic performance has slowed this year,” said Hsieh.
The government should also take into consideration the minimum subsistence amount of income per person multiplied by the average support in a family when it comes to calculating the minimum wage in Taiwan, he concluded.
1 Taiwan dollar = 0.0333563 USD, 1 USD = 29.9793 Taiwan Dollar.