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2nd minimum wage meeting chance for better results

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A second Basic Wage Deliberation Committee meeting is slated to be held today with a better chance of companies dispatching representatives to attend.

The Basic Wage Deliberation Committee meeting was first held on Aug. 25 to discuss the adjustment to the nation's minimum wage, but due to companies' unwillingness to cooperate and purposeful absence, the meeting failed to produce tangible conclusions.

A second meeting to deliberate the minimum wage is scheduled to be held today with a more positive outlook, as Labor Minister Chen Hsiung-wen (陳雄文) has been visiting different commerce and trade groups to solicit their support. Sources say that at least seven trade group representatives have agreed to attend today's meeting.

Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce (CNAIC) Chairman Lin Por-fong (林伯豐) said yesterday that local commerce and trade groups are willing to cooperate with the government, but stressed that the government should stand by its promise “not to hold Basic Wage Deliberation Committee meetings unless the annual consumer price index (CPI) growth reaches 3 percent.”

Employers and employees have had a very good relationship, Lin said, adding that this relation should not be compromised by annually proposed wage adjustment.

In fact, the talk of minimum wage hike is irrelevant to local laborers, as many companies already provide raises on an annual basis and in many cases wages offered already exceed the minimum wage requirement by a great extent, according to Lin.

While the minimum wage talk is irrelevant to Taiwanese workers, it does affect foreign laborers working in Taiwan. As such, the two groups' wages should be deliberated and treated separately, Lin said.

However, for fairness, Lin suggested that the government repeal the basic wage requirement and establish a new formula to work on the subject instead. Changes in wage level should be dependent on supply and demand in the market, Lin said.

Finally, Lin said that he wants to remind Labor Minister Chen that the mission of the Ministry of Labor is to look after both employers and employees, and help smooth out the relation between the two, while taking good care of Taiwanese workers.

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