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Minimum wage goes up as prices still increasing

(Global Times)

11:13, October 08, 2011

Low income earners in China will enjoy salary hikes as the minimum wage was hiked across China. Twenty-one districts made the change, but experts disagree on if it's a good policy.

Eleven of the 21 districts are located in east China and none of their minimum wages dip under 1,000 yuan a month, the Beijing-based Legal Mirror reported Thursday.

Shenzhen in Guangdong Province held top spot. The province's monthly minimum salary is 1,320 yuan ($204), increasing by 220 yuan over last year. The second highest is Zhejiang Province, 1,310 yuan. Beijing ranked fifth at 1,160 yuan, the report said.

At least four districts that raised their minimum wage standards said the CPI is the most important reference when setting the standard.

Experts have had mixed responses to the wage hikes.

"It sets a bottom line for workers to guarantee their income," Song Ze, a professor at the Institute of Finance and Trade Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Under current high living cost in cities, worker salary needed to be raised to make up for inflation, Song said.

However, growing salaries will push price hikes even higher and make thousands of workers jobless, Wang Zhenyu, vice director of the public decision-making research center at the China University of Political Science and Law, said. The increasing wage rates will add to labor costs for enterprises, he said, adding some of them will have to face the risk of bankruptcy.

"If their companies are closed down, more workers will be jobless. No job, no salary," Wang said. What is most important is stimulating the economy and setting friendly policies for enterprises to creating more opportunities for employment, he stressed.

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