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Indonesia to present pay raise proposal for caretakers in January

2018/12/14 23:21:14


Taipei, Dec. 14 (CNA) Indonesia is scheduled to present to Taiwan in January a pay raise proposal for its migrant caretakers in Taiwan after an ongoing study to support the demand is completed, a visiting Indonesian official said Friday.

"It's reasonable to raise the wages because the wage level for domestic workers hasn't been increased since 2015," Roostiawati, director of Labor Market Department of Indonesia's Ministry of Manpower (MOM), told CNA in an interview ahead of the 9th Taiwan-Indonesia Labor Conference.

Roostiawati is among the delegation led by MOM Minister Hanif Dhakiri which arrived in Taiwan on Thursday for the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Friday, followed by the bilateral conference, which resumed after a four-year hiatus.

A total of 24 issues have been put forward for discussions Friday, 10 from the Indonesia side and 14 from the Taiwanese side, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Labor (MOL).

On the pay raise issue, Roostiawati said, Taiwan has agreed, in pre-meeting talks, to adjust the level upward and Indonesia has been in the process of studying all the changes over the past three years that warrant an increase in the salary for domestic workers.

"We (Indonesia side) also agreed that we would come up with reasons. We are looking at the economic development and the increasing inflation over the past three years in Taiwan," she said. "After we finish the study, we will propose an amount, hopefully next month."

Roostiawati attended the pre-meeting talks on Thursday with Taiwan's labor officials in preparation for Friday's conference that lasted for six hours.

Asked by CNA about the discussion on the pay raise issue after Friday's meeting, Roostiawati said that both sides shared the same position in terms of providing protection for migrant workers. She did not comment on the wage issue.

However, the MOL said that the ministry hasn't agreed to a pay raise, but was "open to further discussions."

The pay raise issue was one of the subjects hotly debated at the meeting, said Hsueh Chien-chung (薛鑑忠), director of the MOL's Cross-Border Workforce Management Division. "But there was still a lack of consensus on that."

"Since the last time the wage was raised was just three years ago, we suggested that they (the Indonesian side) prepare reasons for its proposal and defer the issue till later when both sides meet at working-group level discussions," Hsueh said.

Hsueh added that the Indonesian delegation did not suggest a margin for wage increase at the meeting and accepted the MOL's suggestion to postpone discussions on the issue.

Under Taiwan's Labor Standard Act, the minimum monthly wage is NT$22,000 (US$712), but most caretakers, who are not covered by the law, earn only NT$17,000 a month. That's up from NT$15,840 in Sept. 2015, a figure that had remained unchanged for 18 years.

The minimum wage will be raised to NT$23,100 starting Jan. 1, 2019.

The delegates also discussed issues on the rights of Indonesian fishermen hired by Taiwanese fishing companies, but they didn't go into details because Indonesia is drafting new regulations governing the employment of Indonesian fishermen.

Both sides have agreed to continue to address flaws in the broker and hiring system that causes migrant workers to shoulder exorbitant brokerage fees and to flee from their employers before their contracts end, according to the MOL.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)