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Labor rights group threatens to protest over dual minimum wage system

2012/03/21 16:03:04

Taipei, March 21 (CNA) The Taiwan Labor Front opposed Wednesday a dual minimum wage system that it said discriminates against foreign laborers, and threatened to launch a protest at the Executive Yuan.

Sun Yu-lien, secretary-general of the group, said labor rights advocates are against any measure that lowers employers' costs if it discriminates against foreign workers.

Furthermore, should the dual track system be implemented, the labor conditions for local workers would be compromised and the wage for local people would drop, he argued.

Sun said his group recognized the courage and stance of Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) head Wang Ju-hsuan in insisting on the same wage system, adding that there is no room for concessions on this issue.

He stated that the labor group would ask Premier Sean Chen to step down if he insists on his proposal for a "virtual offshore area" within the country to test the dual track system.

Chen said Tuesday that a dual minimum wage system is not legally feasible, but a special zone could be the only way to apply it.

However, Wang has repeatedly voiced her opposition to such a move, saying it would trigger a controversy over human rights and could tarnish Taiwan's image and hurt the domestic job market.

She even vowed to quit if the system is implemented.

The private sector and several legislators have been pushing for a lower minimum wage for foreign laborers, with Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang saying last week that he backed the idea.

The minimum wage in Taiwan, which stands at NT$18,780 (US$637) per month, is the same for both domestic and foreign workers.

(By Zoe Wei and Jamie Wang)