CHINA / National

Income in monopoly sectors 3 times national average
Updated: 2006-06-06 14:04

Average wage income of workers in China's monopoly sectors, such as telecom, finance and tobacco industries, has reached three times the national average, while non-wage income of workers in these sectors enlarged the gap with the national average up to 10 fold as much.

"Income is now deviating from the contributions of staffers in the monopoly sectors," said Bu Zhengfa, vice minister of Labor and Social Security, at a recent forum on salary management.

Bu cited an example of a worker in a civic electric power company. His monthly salary approaches approximately 6,000 yuan (about US$750), but his annual income could amount to 150,000 yuan (some US$18,750) with his bonuses, allowances and housing accumulation fund, which could reaches about ten times the national average.

Relatively exorbitant salary of monopoly firms, mostly state-owned ones, has become the most eminent problem of China's income distribution system, Bu acknowledged.

An interview by People's Daily at two leading universities in Shanghai showed that many of their graduates are eager to work in the sectors of tobacco, telecom and petroleum, no matter what positions they might be offered.

"With a guaranteed high salary and job security, I feel secured in monopoly sectors," A university graduate surnamed Wang, who just signed his job contract with a telecom firm, was quoted as saying.

Wang is expecting to earn 4,000 yuan (about US$500) a month upon his entry of the firm, while the monthly salary for his peers is predicted to attain an average of 2,000 yuan (US$250) in these two years.

"Lack of strict regulations constitutes the major cause for monopoly firms to enjoy excess profits," said Prof. Wang Zeke, with elite Zhongshan (Dr. Sun Yates-sen) University in Guangzhou. He suggests the government step up its pace to do away with monopoly and take prompt measures to restrict the profits of monopoly sectors.

In China, the government has stopped levying profits from state-owned firms since 1992 to encourage their development. With relevant preferential policies and their right to use state-owned assets, most state-owned firms enhanced their monopoly status in their respective sectors and enjoyed higher profits over recent years.

The central government has begun taking measures to control the salary scope in monopoly firms. Some telecom and financial companies have even been urged to restrain the salaries for their employees.

Su Hainan, director of the salary research department with Labor and Social Security Ministry, said relevant ministries are considering of collecting more taxes from state-owned firms which have a large proportion of state-owned assets.