Taipei-An alleged plan by the government to raise Taiwan's minimum wage by 5 percent has met resistance from major industry and commercial groups in the country, which contend that if wages are to be hiked, everyone in the country should be entitled to the same treatment.
While the government's tax income has been higher than expected for four years, the wages of employees in the public sector, however, have not been adjusted for seven years, Republic of China General Chamber of Commerce Vice Chairman Hsu Shu-po (???) said during a meeting with economic and labor ministers on Monday.
"If the government wants enterprises to increase wages, it should take the initiative to do so," Hsu contended.
He explained that last year, when discussions were held on a proposal to raise the wages for public servants, teachers in public schools and military personnel, the Directorate General of Personnel Administration voted against it, citing sluggish economic growth.
If the government says economic growth is not good, then that must mean the country's businesses are not doing so well, Hsu said, implying enterprises cannot shoulder heavier manpower costs.
He also suggested that the relevant authorities should reinforce efforts to crack down on employers who fail to pay their workers the minimum hourly wage of NT$133 (US$4.39). Such violations are allegedly rampant in southern Taiwan, he said.
The government's tax income has been higher than expected for four years from 2014 to 2017 by a total of approximately NT$400 billion (US$13.2 billion), according to Hsu.
Hsu was one of the leaders of eight major industry and commercial organizations in the country, who attended the Monday meeting with Economics Minister Lee Chih-kung (???) and Labor Minister Lin Mei-chu (???), as well as representatives of management, for talks ahead of the Ministry of Labor's (MOL's) convening of its annual basic wage review committee on Aug. 18.
Local media reports said the MOL has outlined a plan to raise the existing minimum hourly wage by 5 percent from NT$133 to NT$140, and the monthly wage from NT$21,009 to NT$22,059.
The alleged wage hike proposal also drew opposition from Lin Po-feng (???), chairman of the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, during Monday's meeting. Echoing Hsu, he suggested that wages for public servants, public school teachers and military personnel be raised first.
"We can catch up later," Lin said.
He also said that before the Labor Standards Act is revised to put an end to disputes over the so-called one mandatory day off, one flexible rest day per week work rule, the basic wage should not be adjusted higher.
Under the controversial work rules that took effect in December last year, the maximum number of work hours has been reduced from 84 hours per two weeks to 40 hours per week, with one mandatory day off and one flexible rest day each week.
Employers are now required to pay overtime for work carried out on the flexible day off, but many employers and employees have complained that the rigid work rules leave less leeway for more flexible work schedules, even if both sides agree.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel