Taipei, May 13 (CNA) The mayors of New Taipei and Taichung voiced concern Tuesday over Taiwan's minimum wage and advised the central government to adjust current wage hike mechanisms, according to a source within the ruling Kuomintang (KMT
) who spoke on condition of anonymity. New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu
and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu, who double as KMT
vice chairmen, made the suggestions to President Ma Ying-jeou
, who chairs the party, at a weekly meeting, said the source, who attended the meeting. According to the source, Chu noted that many workers disagree with the current threshold for raising the minimum wage. Currently, a minimum wage review meeting will only be held when the consumer price index rises by 3 percent or higher. Chu also suggested increasing taxes for companies that do not increase salaries for their employees, according to the source. Hu, on the other hand, said profit-earning businesses should give a third of their profits to their shareholders, a third to their workers and a third to charity, the source said. In response, Ma asked officials to study the mayors' proposals, the source said.
Taiwan's stagnant real wages -- at the same level they were at 16 years ago -- as well as the minimum wage, have become hot topics recently, after labor groups protested against low pay May 1 and inflation was reported May 6 to have hit a 14-month high in April. Real monthly earnings averaged NT$44,739 (US$1,481) in 2013, lower than the average of NT$44,798 in 1998, despite economic growth of over 2 percent. (By Liu Li-jung and Christie Chen)