Labour activists hold placards during a protest outside Taiwan's Council of Labour Affairs in Taipei yesterday, as an official panel meets to discuss raising the island's minimum wages. Photo: AFP
Taiwan said Thursday it plans to raise the minimum wage by 5.03 percent despite calls by labour groups for hikes in excess of 30 percent.
If approved by the Cabinet, the minimum monthly wage for workers will rise to Tw$18,780 ($625) from January, up from Tw$17,880, the Council of Labour Affairs said.
The hike, proposed by Council Chairwoman Wang Ju-hsuan, was a compromise after a 22-member panel of government officials, industry and labour representatives and academics failed to reach agreement on the pay increase.
"Since representatives from labour and industry failed to arrive at an agreement on the issue, the chairwoman decided to put up her proposal, which was adopted by most of the panel members," a council official said.
Labour representatives demanded an increase of more than 30 percent, compared with a 3.47 percent hike offered by industry delegates during five hours of discussions in Taipei on Thursday.
As the talks were under way, around 200 labour activists rallied outside the council in the Taiwan capital. "We're disappointed by the result. The planned pay hike will be of little help to people living on minimum wages," Yuan Kung-chi, a labour activist, told AFP upon hearing about the decision.
"It also failed to reflect Taiwan's impressive economic growth since last year," he said.