Government and Policy

Minimum wages going up across the country

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-20 07:31
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Pay hikes for workers is an attempt to help companies hire laborers

GUANGZHOU - Authorities in Guangdong province will raise the minimum wage by 21.1 percent on average for both corporate employees and part-time workers beginning May 1 after the province reported a shortage of workers early this year.

"The wage rise is being introduced to help companies attract more workers," said Lin Wangping, deputy director of Guangdong provincial human resources and social security department.

Guangdong, one of the economic powerhouses in South China, reported a shortage of at least 90,000 workers after the Spring Festival as business has picked up for many companies, according to the provincial labor authority.

Different cities in the province will adjust their minimum wage levels based on their actual conditions, Lin said.

Guangzhou, the provincial capital, will continue to have the highest level, with the minimum wage raised from 860 yuan per month to 1,030 yuan.

Guangdong's highest minimum wage for part-time workers also will be raised to 9.9 yuan per hour. The lowest will be 6.4 yuan per hour.

After the wage increase, workers in Guangdong will have higher salaries than those in Jiangsu province and Beijing but lower than in Shanghai and Zhejiang province, said Yu Chuntao, director of the labor relations department within the Guangdong labor authority.

"Guangdong has been hard hit by the global financial crisis. So we are pushing forward the wage reform to narrow the income gap between Guangdong and other booming regions," Yu said.

The minimum wage increase will be the highest in two years for the province, Yu said.

On March 1, the minimum wage in East China's Fujian province increased 24.5 percent. Zhejiang province, also in east China, will increase its monthly minimum wage to 1,100 yuan as of April 1, making it the highest minimum wage in China.

But Mo Rong, a senior researcher with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, believes it will take more than pay increases to lure the new generation of migrant workers, those born in the 1980s and 1990s.

The new generation is more aware of their employment rights, and they not only demand higher pay but also better opportunities for career development, Mo said. They also have cultural and spiritual needs, he said.

To some small enterprises, increasing the minimum wage will mean less business profits as they have to increase labor costs, said a manager surnamed Huang with the Fuhai Human Resource Market Center of Huizhou, Guangdong province.

"The minimum wage rise will result in more financial burdens to small companies. Companies should attach more importance to industrial and technology upgrades to reduce the use of more workers," Huang told China Daily.

Huang suggested the government introduces more preferential policies such as tax reductions for companies to avoid paying more labor costs.


(China Daily 03/20/2010 page4)