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Business group already complying with minimum NT$30,000 salary

2017/12/12 16:40:05

CNAIC Chairman Lin Por-fong (林伯豐, right) and Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德)

Taipei, Dec. 12 (CNA) An influential business group on Tuesday pledged its continued support for a government call for a NT$30,000 (US$1,000) minimum monthly salary for entry-level employees, noting that all of its member businesses already have equivalent or higher salaries.

Emerging from a closed-door meeting with Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德), Chairman Lin Por-fong (林伯豐) of the Taipei-based Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce (CNAIC) said that his association supports the government's proposal.

All of its member businesses, which are publicly traded companies, have entry-level salaries over NT$30,000, and the figure is far greater if bonuses are included, Lin noted.

Daniel Tsai (蔡明忠), chairman of Taiwan Mobile, which is a member of the association, echoed similar sentiments, saying that all publicly traded companies are cooperating with the government's initiative.

Nonetheless, he was quick to point out that wage stagnation is directly related to price stagnation, and that if the prices of consumer goods go up, then wages will naturally go up as well.

On the subject of the minimum hourly wage, however, both Lin and Tsai asked the government to reduce the frequency with which it is increased.

Lin proposed that there should not be another raise to the minimum hourly wage, which mostly benefits part-time employees but not full-time ones, in the next five years.

Tsai expressed hope that if all businesses can increase their entry-level salaries to NT$30,000 per month, then the government will lower the frequency with which it increases the minimum hourly wage.

In sharp contrast, Morris Chang (張忠謀), however, chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), another member business, said that salary increases should be left to free market forces, calling government intervention in the matter a violation of the principles of capitalism.

Chang noted that while TSMC already boasts high salaries for all of its employees, it continues to raise salaries every year, without government intervention.

In a free market characterized by a bad economic climate, employee turnover rate increases, he explained, and people will naturally go to find work not just at other companies in Taiwan but also abroad.

All three chairmen expressed a willingness to work with the premier, who they described as very sincere in his desire to work with businesses to improve Taiwan's economy.

(By Huang Ya-chun and Kuan-lin Liu)