CLA to propose hike to minimum wages
By Lauly Li ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The meeting of the Basic Wage Deliberation Committee (BWDC) yesterday made its latest resolution, namely proposing to increase the monthly minimum wage from NT$19,047 to NT$19,273 and the hourly minimum wage from NT$109 to NT$115.
August 29, 2013, 12:22 am TWN
The policies are set to be implemented in July and January 2014, respectively, if the Cabinet approves the BWDC proposals, officials at the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) said.
Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) said the Cabinet will wait until the BWDC submits its official resolution to review the proposals in accordance with relevant regulations.
CLA Minister Pan Shih-wei (潘世偉) said the BWDC meeting also decided on a proviso for the next BWDC meeting: only when the annual growth rate of Taiwan's consumer price index (CPI) surpasses 3 percent will the CLA hold another BWDC meeting.
Tsai Sui (蔡穗), representative of the Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI), said that as it usually takes at least two years for the CPI's annual growth rate to achieve 3 percent, therefore the next meeting to review the minimum wage issue will possibly be held three years down the road.
The Taiwan Labor Front said the CLA's proviso to the BWDC meeting unilaterally adjusts the BWDC's mechanism to review the minimum wage issue, which harms laborers' rights.
Labor groups said that according to the Labor Standards Act the BWDC has to be held annually, therefore the CLA's proviso to the meeting could possibly be illegal.
Pan said he cannot give comments on hypothetical assumptions.
At the BWDC meeting held by the CLA, representatives of labor groups and management for the first time moved to the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) in Xizhi District.
Before the BWDC was held yesterday, several labor group representatives, including Lin Chin-yung (林進勇), a representative from the Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions, refused to attend the meeting.
The minimum wage arbitration stoked tensions between labor groups and the government as in 2012 when the BWDC proposed to raise the hourly minimum wage from NT$103 to NT$115, with the Cabinet ruling for an increase to NT$109 only.
Chang Pi-fu (張必富), a representative of labor rights groups, said that if the government does not respect the BWDC's resolutions, then the government should abolish the BWDC. “There is no necessity to hold the meeting,” Chang added.
Apart from Lin, two representatives of management submitted their opinions in written form to the BWDC. Wang Ying-chieh (王應傑), a senior executive of the General Chamber of Commerce, and Chan Huo-sheng (詹火生), a representative of several academic experts, left the five-hour meeting before it ended, according to CNA.
Wang told members of the press that from the perspective of industrial and commercial management, “it is not necessary to discuss the issue of the minimum wage,” noting that “the wage of workers in industrial and commercial fields is more than the minimum wage.”
Wang further noted that he personally agrees with the proposal to hike the hourly minimum wage to NT$115, however, if the government raises the monthly minimum wage, then it would be “stressful” to employees in management positions.
ASE Group said it expects that the BWDC's resolutions over the monthly and hourly minimum wages will raise competitiveness.
Siliconware Precision Industries Co. (SPIL) said the firms' minimum wage is already higher than the current minimum wage.