TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- After about six hours of discussions, the Ministry of Labor's annual Minimum Wage Review Committee decided to increase the monthly wage from NT$21,009 to NT$22,000 (US$725) today, a far cry from the 30 percent increase to NT$27,711 proposed by some committee members earlier in the week.
In a much more modest increase to the monthly minimum wage, the committee opted for the equivalent to a 4.72 percent hike. Meanwhile, instead of increasing the hourly minimum wage from NT$133 to NT$160 as originally proposed, the rate was raised by only 5.26 percent to NT$140.
Committee member Hsinchu County Confederation of Trade Unions Chairman Chen Fu-chun (陳福俊) told the media afterward that there was a certain amount of wrestling as different sides presented their ideal numbers. The ideal number for labor representatives was NT$27,711, but in the end, they were willing to settle for NT$22,000.
In response to the decision, Chen said "Labor is not satisfied with the results, but we can accept it." Chen said that there are a lot of workers at the grassroots level that need to be taken care of. When the wages are raised, there certainly is an impact on employers, such as increased insurance costs, but companies should resolve these issues through a new management approach and not take advantage of the workers, said Chen.
As for industry representatives, the director of the Chinese National Federation of Industries left the meeting before it concluded, but told the media during an interview near the elevator, "businesses were opposed to this throughout, but in the end it was a third party that made the decision."
Chen said that in the end it was Minister of Labor Lin Mei-chu (林美珠) who made the final call to set the amount at NT$22,000.
It is estimated that 2.07 million workers will be affected, with the increase to first be approved by the Ministry of Labor, before it will then be sent to the Executive Yuan for final approval, when a decision on a final implementation date can be made.
In accordance with the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), foreign workers in Taiwan will also receive the pay raise.