Trade union protests over lowering wages for foreign workers

By Peng Hou-di, TAIPEI, Taiwan, The China Post, Friday, 15 August 2003

The minimum wage for foreign workers should not be lower than local workers, or the difference may worsen Taiwan's economy and unemployment, Taiwan Confederation Trade Union (TCTU) protested yesterday.

The free port trade bill allows lower minimum wage for foreign workers. This bill will likely be discussed and passed in Legislative Yuan's extraordinary meeting starting yesterday.

If foreign workers have lower minimum wages, local workers would either lose their jobs or cut down their minimum wage to compete, said Lu Tain-lin, master of TCTU. The TCTU will refuse to help in any election if legislators pass this bill.

Actually, it has already been stated in the Labor Standards Law that regardless of race, language or religion, all workers should have equal minimum wage, claimed National Policy Advisor Tseng Mao-shing.

This policy cannot match Taiwan's need of high quality worker or high-tech development, Tzeng said.

Taiwan's minimum salary is quite low compared to other Eastern Asia countries, such as Japan, Korea and Hong Kong, said Lu. This bill will only do more harm to Taiwan's international image.