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September 26, 2017

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Jiang lends support to national minimum wage hike

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) supported the idea of raising the national minimum wage at a symposium with the representatives of the top 10 labor rights organizations in Taiwan, yesterday.

 Last year, a committee set up to deliberate on basic wages decided that they will only hold a meeting when the consumer price index (CPI) increases 3 percent per year. However, despite not meeting the conditions, the Executive Yuan is now asking experts whether they are still willing to hold the conference.

 Reportedly, food prices are rising too fast and have become the main reason why the Executive Yuan is contemplating increasing the minimum wage. According to statistics released by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (行政院主計處), the consumables CPI increased by 4.27 percent in July. In addition, the average food index from January to July this year saw an increase of 3.82 percent. The Executive Yuan said that the rising CPI has already affected the quality of life for local residents.

 Regarding this issue, President Ma Ying-jeou invited many officials including Jiang, New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強)to discuss the problem during the weekly meeting.

 They all offered their advice on the issue. Chu advocated raising the national minimum wage, otherwise the government should cancel the preferential policy for enterprises. Hu also suggested that enterprises should divide their income into three parts; one for companies, one for workers and one for charities. Hau stressed that this is an urgent issue and the wage deliberation conference should be held as soon as possible. He went on to say that in order for families to have their basic needs met, the national minimum wage should increase to NT$22,639 per month and NT$133 per hour.

 Many nongovernmental organizations protested on Tuesday, demanding that the government hold the conference. They hoped to adjust the national minimum wage to NT$23,753 per month and NT$143 per hour. If the national minimum wage rises again, it would be the fifth time during Ma's term of office.

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