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Chen lauds Cabinet plan to increase minimum wage

Government, firms should listen to workers' voices, says president

Chen lauds Cabinet plan to increase minimum wage

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday praised the intention by the Cabinet to increase the basic wage for the first time in nearly a decade.
Speaking to a group of "model workers" to commemorate International Labor Day, the president said that he was "very happy" that "the Cabinet has made a resolution to increase the basic wage" for the first time in 10 years, adding that the decision will benefit 1.72 million persons when it takes effect July 1.
"Of course, everyone has different views on the degree of the increase, but I believe the Cabinet will consider all pros and cons and make the best decision," Chen stated.
Chen observed that "the selfless diligence" of Taiwan's workers were the prime reason why Taiwan enterprises have been able to maintain a certain level of outputs and inputs despite the impact of globalization and moderate economic expansion.
In addition, the president affirmed that "labor is absolutely Taiwan's most precious asset" and "whether it's government or enterprises, everyone should pay close attention to the voices of Taiwan workers."
"The protection of labor, promotion of national employment and labor-management harmony" had been the "consistent administrative concept" of the DPP government, the president said.
He noted that his administration had approved numerous new labor related laws or revisions for legislative review, had prompted many programs to enhance the fundamental rights and socio-economic position of Taiwan's workers and, step by step, had bolstered guarantees for post-retirement livelihood.
Chen related that "initial accomplishments and progress" had been achieved on "six guarantees" that he promised labor in his re-election campaign for the March 2004 presidential election.
These commitments included the expansion of employment and the reduction of the unemployment rate to less than four percent, guarantees for Taiwan grassroots labor and prohibition of importation of Chinese labor, the implementation of a NT$20,000 retraining subsidy program, the establishment of a life-long labor pension system, comprehensive protection for labor safety and the incorporation of the "three rights of labor" - the right to form unions, engage in collective bargaining and to strike - into the Constitution.
Chen related that over 4.3 million workers had enrolled in the new Labor Retirement Pension Fund system introduced on July 1, 2005 and the fund had accumulated to NT$160.6 billion by April 27, 2007.
The president said that, under a threat of resignation by Council for Labor Affairs Chairman Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), the opposition-controlled Legislature Yuan finally approved a statute to establish a "Labor Retirement Pension Fund Supervisory Committee" on March 2 that will allow the formation of a professional committee by August 1 to manage investment of the fund and ensure a minimum annual interest return of four percent.
"The rights of our labor friends cannot wait," the president said, instructing Lee, who accompanied the group of model laborers but later resigned yesterday, to see whether the committee could be set up to begin operations earlier.
Chen stated that the unemployment rate had already been reduced to less than four percent and that the government now aimed to push the jobless rate to below 3.8 percent.
In addition, Chen said, the CLA had launched a drive to reduce the number of workers killed or injured in occupational accidents by 30 percent in two years and as of April 15, the rate of deaths in major occupational accidents was 12.19 per million persons, down from the average of 13.31 deaths per million persons in both 2004 and 2005.
The president also reaffirmed the government's resolve to include the "three rights of labor" into the Constitution to ensure "constitutional level institutional protection" for these basic rights.


Updated : 2021-05-15 07:04 GMT+08:00