28 May 2007

A new ridiculous policy in Taiwan again: Minimum Wages

The council of labour affairs of Taiwan recently announced that the minimum wage of labours should be raised to NTD95 (about USD2.8) per hour in two years time. It will go from NTD66 to NTD87 in the first year, and then to NTD95 in the second year. The head of the council said later that this new policy would result in extra payment for some of the employers, so the government will support these employers to pay the extra NTD10 in the first year. What kind of policy is this?

This new policy supposes to protect all labours, and I agree with its intention to ensure all labours' right. However, what follows is just ridiculous, and I cannot help but think that this is in fact a "Bribe".

Employers are responsible for the wages of their employees. If the law says that each labour should have NTD95 for every hour's work, then they should get that amount of money. Otherwise, don't hire people to work for you.

Who employs the most hourly paid labours? I believe they are the retailers, such as fast-food chain stores and convenient stores. These employers are in fact earning more than enough to cover this extra expense. Some of them are international companies, which means they may have paid more to their employers in other countries. According to the information provided by Wikipedia, UK pays at least £5.35 per hour, and the USA will be paying up t0 $7.25 over the next two years. These employers can only abide by the law, whether they are happy or not. Those governments did not give any further assistance to employers, either. We should make it clear here that the minimum wage is set up to protect the labour's right; it is not a policy to ensure the employers' profit.

Moreover, this extra expense will be paid by all taxpayers living in Taiwan. It truly sounds good when the government said we will be doing it, but don't forget that every penny the government has is from us, taxpayers. This also includes those who are earning hourly wages. So this situation becomes very tricky because even those who earns this extra NTD10 are also contributing to this expense! To the end, labours who should be benefited from this policy are not gaining what they should get but are being deprived of their rights.

As for those employers, they are the only one who benefits from this ridiculous policy. They don't need to pay more to their employees, they can keep their profits, and lastly, they have a good support from the government. Doesn't this sound like an ugly collusion between politics and commerce? Indeed, fraud and bribe are nothing new to this corrupt government of Taiwan. They may use this new policy as a way to get votes for the presidential election next year. Since this government has lost its support from the majority of the proletariat, there is no better way than securing its legitimate political status through collusion with the businessmen. It is true that in election if you have a good money support, you have already won. This is a bold assumption I made, though without any solid evidence, I just smell a rat.

I truly feel sorry for those who are earning this minimum wage. I hope all labour organizations in Taiwan can fight against this stupid new policy and make sure that all employers are paying what they should be paying.

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