Labor activists took their campaign for a raise in the basic minimum wage to a prominent employers' organization yesterday.
The Council of Labor Affairs is expected to call a commission together soon to decide what to do about Taiwan's NT$17,280 (US$541) minimum wage. Labor rights groups say the time is ripe for a two-year freeze to come to an end, while employers oppose a hike while also calling for separate consideration of foreign laborers' wages.
Protesters showed up outside the offices of the Chinese National Federation of Industries in Taipei Thursday morning with banners calling for higher salaries and the effective protection of labor rights.
The activists performed a skit representing members of the public committing suicide by hanging. In times of rising prices, only salaries were staying low, pushing citizens to the brink of suicide, the activists said.
They handed a letter of protest to CNFI official Liu Chih-tung, who promised he would pass the message on to organization chairman Preston Chen, but police later disbanded the meeting because it had not been applied for under the law.
Six major business organizations recently issued a call to keep the minimum wage unchanged, the activists said, accusing the groups of completely disregarding recent statistics showing the gap between rich and poor widening to unprecedented levels.
The protesters rejected the employers' argument that Taiwan's main competitors in the region had lower minimum wage levels. South Korea had raised its basic wage to the equivalent of NT$23,500 (US$737), they said.