Labor protest dual-track minimum wage plan
October 2, 2012, 12:05 am TWN
TAIPEI--Representatives of major labor groups staged a protest at the Executive Yuan on Monday over the government's plan to increase the quota of migrant workers in the country and introduce a dual-track minimum wage for free economic zones.
The protest was held outside the building during a supra-ministerial meeting on a range of foreign labor issues, including the proportion of migrant workers and an employment stabilization fund that companies have to pay if they want to hire additional foreign workers.
The meeting, aimed at boosting private investment and the sluggish domestic economy, was also scheduled to discuss a controversial proposal to allow companies in the free economic zones to adopt a dual-track minimum wage system to facilitate the hiring of migrant workers. Under such a system, foreign workers will be subject to a different minimum wage structure from local employees.
The demonstrators said all the proposals were designed to give employers more leverage to hire foreign labor at a lower cost.
This means job opportunities for local workers would be squeezed and employers would be even more reluctant to raise wages, the protesters said.
"Therefore, we firmly oppose any schemes to raise the ratio for the employment of foreign workers and to introduce a dual-track minimum wage system," said a labor rights activist who declined to be named.
Several police officers were mobilized to maintain law and order at the protest site. They formed a human wall in front of the Executive Yuan, but angry protesters still managed to pelt the government building with eggs.