The Ministry of Labor in Taiwan held a minimum wage advisory committee meeting on August 12. The representatives of employers and employees debated on the low economic growth rate, export reduction, the economic slump and other related data, and eventually turned down the employees’ proposal of raising minimum wage.

The National Development Council (NDC) released the results of a survey titled, “Opinions on current living conditions" on August 12. Up to 80 percent of the people were satisfied with their current living conditions while up to 72 percent were happy with their working environments and working conditions. Over 70 percent were satisfied with their current economic situation.

These three items not only broke a new high record since the Ma administration took office, but also made huge progress compared to the results from last year. The satisfaction rate of economic situations has even increased nearly ten percentage points.

NOWnews reports, the NDC says this survey is a routine investigation. The interview dates were June 29, 30 this year. The council randomly chose citizens over 20 years old from the yellow pages of Taiwan residents as samples. 1,076 people were effective samples, with a sampling error under 95% confidence level and the error was approximately plus or minus 2.99% percentage points.

Liberty Times reports, Liang Jia-wei, the Executive Secretary of the National Federation of Independent Trade Unions, says the result is very different from how normal people feel and the survey was most probably manipulated. It’s obviously meant to help Ma’s government in the presidential election next year.

Liang points out, according to research conducted by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, the monthly salary for forty percent of workers in Taiwan is less than NT$ 30,000. How much is left after paying rent and other bills?

Many workers face problems such as low wages, long working hours, poor working conditions and so on, therefore the satisfaction rate of Ma’s government reaching a peak seems odd.

According to the NDC, people that are satisfied with their current quality of life reached up to 82.1 percent, and increased by eight percent comparing to last year’s 74.1 percent. People who are satisfied with their current working conditions and working environments account for 72.3 percent. As for those satisfied with their current economic condition grew the most from last year’s 60.7 percent to 70.6 percent this year.

China Times reports, the Secretary-general of the Chinese National Federation of Industries Tsai Lian-sheng says, Taiwan has gone through economic downturns, and according to the latest reports from CommonWealth Magazine, among the 1,500 companies listed on the TSE, a quarter of them have been in deficit for three consecutive years.

Lai Zheng-Yi, president of the General Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of China, says employers and employees have already agreed that if the economic growth of the year reaches up to three percent and the customer price index (CPI) goes up between two to three percent, the committee will take minimal wage hike into consideration.

So far the current economic situation is far from meeting the two marks mentioned above. Authorities hope laborers can undertake the situation along with the citizens and put off raising minimal wages.

Translated by June and Olivia Yang
Edited by Olivia Yang