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Taipei City Mayor: low-pay problem a national shame
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-04 12:22 PM
A week ago, the Taipei City Government (TCG) has announced a plan to raise the pay for its temporary workers. The Mayor Hao Lung-bin defended his decision Monday and extended his support to the city's labor bureau official Chen Yeh-hsin in a media interview. Chen commented earlier that the wage stagnation and low income problem is "the shame of the nation."

In the media interview, Hao sided with Chen and called for policy review of current minimum wage by the state-level policy makers. He said wage hike can effectively boost the national economy. Hao explained that the chronic low-wage problem will impede domestic economic growth due to poor purchasing power in line with a number of Nobel Prize laureates' views, which consider the key to economy growth lies in the lift in minimum wage. Hao took example of the U.S. whose president has made a similar bid. Hao added that the methods of stimulating economy should not be limited to just pushing for establishing free trade zones.

Hao announced last week that the hourly rate for temporary workers will be raised to NT$133 (US$4.39) and the minimum monthly wage to NT$22,639. Taichung City has announced to follow the move. Evaluations are also being made in the rest of the cities or counties, according to media reports. Twenty seven companies reportedly have agreed to give their workers a raise.

Hao remarked that the business environment and profit have been turning better from last year, and he encouraged business owners to share the gains with employees to help them improve their living standards.

Taiwan’s labor policies have come under fire from the United States State Department’s latest human rights report for 2013 for low wages, overtime and abuses of foreign laborers’ rights. The US document mentioned the low wages for Taiwanese workers, including the fact that the average wage fell back to levels not seen since 15 years ago. The average monthly wage stood at NT$44,739 in 2013.

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