Taiwan News: Cabinet Approves Minimum Wage Rises

Taiwan News: Cabinet Approves Minimum Wage Rises
Photo Credit: David Green
What you need to know

Your daily bulletin of Taiwan news, courtesy of ICRT.

The Cabinet on Wednesday approved a Ministry of Labor proposal to increase minimum wages from January next year.

The monthly minimum wage will be raised by 5 percent while the hourly minimum wage sees a 7.14 percent increase.

The increases are in line with the recommendations of the Basic Wage Deliberation Committee.

The increases mean the monthly minimum wage will rise from NT$22,000 (US$714) to NT$23,100 and that is expected to benefit some 1.8 million employees.

While the hourly minimum wage will be increased from NT$140 to NT$150. And that rise is estimated to benefit 456,000 workers.

However, the Chinese National Federation of Industries, which represents Taiwan's manufacturing industry, remains opposed to the move, saying the latest rises in the minimum wage will result in labor costs in the industrial sector increasing by NT$39 billion per month.

Read More: ANALYSIS: Taiwan Is Better than Selfish Bosses and Their Heartless Wage Threats

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The Taichung Prison said former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was not in violation of his medical parole when he expressed his political opinions during an unofficial forum – the text of which was published by a Japanese newspaper.

According to the prison, Chen did not "actively give the interview" and did not leave his residence in Kaohsiung.

The interview was conducted on Aug. 2 in Kaohsiung under the format of an unofficial forum attended by reporters and leaders of Japan-based Chen-supporter groups.

The Sankei Shimbun described the publication of Chen's comments made during the forum as being "the former president's first media interview in about 10 years."

Chen called for a referendum on Taiwan independence during the forum, saying Taiwan can only counter China's military and diplomatic suppression of the island with democracy.

And according to Chen, such a referendum would show the world that Taiwan does not want to be part of China.

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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has extended her condolences on Twitter to the families of the victims of Typhoon Jebi, which swept through western Japan earlier this week.

The storm left 11 people dead and more than 600 others injured.

Writing on her Twitter account, Tsai said "the people of Taiwan, who have frequently encountered natural disasters, feel great empathy with the Japanese people."

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Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) has announced the establishment of a US$2-million medical fund to boost medical cooperation with Pacific countries.

Wu made the announcement at the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the fund will be used to support professional medical teams from Taiwan that travel to Pacific states to provide medical services at ROC embassies or representative offices.

The Pacific Islands Forum was founded in 1971 and is a regional political and economic policy organization comprising of 18 members, including Australia and New Zealand.

Taiwan was invited to be a post-forum dialogue partner in 1992 and took part for the first time in 1993.

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The Taoyuan District Prosecutors' Office has charged 21 people for helping Chinese nationals illegally enter the United States from Mexico using ROC passports.

Those charged are all Taiwanese nationals.

Prosecutors said the human trafficking ring's two ringleaders are among the suspects charged with colluding in a criminal conspiracy to help Chinese nationals illegally enter the U.S.

Four other suspects remain at large and authorities said warrants have been issued for their arrest.

According to prosecutors, the human trafficking ring paid Taiwan nationals NT$90,000 per month to fly to the U.S. and apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization.

They then gave the passports to the Chinese nationals, who entered the U.S. by impersonating the Taiwanese passport holders.

Officials said some 40 Chinese nationals entered the U.S, in this way between April and July last year.

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The New Taipei City District Prosecutors' Office has indicted former Kuomintang party lawmaker Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) on charges of corruption.

Prosecutors said Lee embezzled over NT$5 million in government funds from between 2007 and 2016.

The money was to have been used to pay Lee's office assistants.

But prosecutors said Lee had the monthly government subsidies deposited in bank accounts belonging his employee's wives, where he was able to access the funds.

Lee faces charges of violating the Anti-Corruption Act and the Criminal Code.

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The number of domestic violence reports involving adult children who physically or mentally abuse their parents has surged to about 8,000 per year over the past two to three years, according to the Ministry of Health.

However, the ministry said the increase does not point to a rise in such cases, but is due to more people being aware of domestic violence and willing to report such incidents.

According to Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), domestic violence cannot be fixed without community force and government resources.

The health ministry said it is working to reinforce a "social safety network" by integrating resources from other ministries to establish a community protection network for at-risk families.

Figures show the health ministry receives 130,000 reports of domestic violence each year, of which 15 percent concern cases of parents or grandparents who are being abused by family members.

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Premier William Lai says the government is seeking come up with policies that support the local semiconductor industry.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of SEMICON Taiwan, Lai said the government will continue to promote tax breaks and introduce proposals to address concerns about shortages of land, water, electricity, skilled workers and manpower.

According to Lai, tackling the "five shortages" will help encourage large semiconductor companies like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing to invest more in Taiwan.

SEMICON Taiwan is taking place at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center until tomorrow.

This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.

Editor David Green (@DavidPeterGreen)

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