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Taipei Mayor Hau urges minimum wage increase

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday attended the Kuomintang (KMT) Central Standing Committee Meeting, during which he advocated for the increase of the national minimum wage.

Hau attended the meeting yesterday afternoon as KMT vice chairman. During the meeting, the vice chair once again offered his advice regarding the minimum wage. Hau also criticized the Ministry of Labor's (MOL) lack of progress in solidifying the national consumer price index (CPI).

The MOL only initiates a meeting of the Basic Wage Deliberation Committee (BWDC, 基本工資審議委員會) when the annual CPI accumulates to a rate of more than 3 percent, said Hau, which fails to reflect the current situation. The only time in the last decade when the annual CPI accumulated to a rate of more than 3 percent was in 2008. Last year's annual CPI accumulated to a mere 0.79 percent, Hau said.

The vice chair later stated his belief that the calculus for minimum wage adjustment should consider the cost of living and commodity prices, which permeates the daily lives of people.

In a statistics report conducted by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics in April, results showed that the prices of food products have inflated over 5 percent, with fruits, chicken and pork going over 10 percent. The result, said Hau, displays the MOL's lack of familiarity with the people, as the ministry insists that the inflation rate has yet to reach a level that requires adjustment.

Although the MOL has declared a minimum wage increase set for July 1, said Hau, whereby the current wage of NT$19,047 will be increased to NT$19,273, the increase will not be able to contend with the current inflation rate, as the decision was made last year.

The vice chair stated that the purpose for a BWDC meeting this year is for him to either push to increase the national minimum wage to NT$22,639 or the national hourly wage to NT$133. Only by increasing the minimum wage will the lives of grassroots workers be secured, said Hau.

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