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21 regions across in China raise minimum wage

By Li Mao (Global Times)

09:24, October 26, 2011

A total of 21 regions across China adjusted their minimum wage standards in the first three quarters of the year, with an average overall increase of 21.7 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security revealed Tuesday.

By the end of September, 21 provincial-level regions, including Beijing, Tianjin and Shanxi had adjusted their minimum wages, Yin Chengji, the ministry's spokesperson, told a press conference Tuesday.

According to him, 25 provinces in total have issued guidelines for this year's wage increase, setting the baseline of wage growth to above 14 percent year-on-year.

Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, had the highest nationwide minimum wage at 1,320 yuan ($207) per month with Beijing having the highest minimum hourly wage at 13 yuan ($2) per hour, said Yin.

According to the ministry's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), the minimum wage increase rate will be kept above 13 percent year-on-year across the country.

A report released last Friday by the Shanghai Federation of Trade Unions showed that 64 percent of the city's working population have trouble making ends meet, with many feeling they work too hard for too little. The report found that the average salary for local residents had increased at an annual rate of 10.9 percent between 2006 and 2009.

Liu Kaiming, director of the Institute of Contemporary Observation, said that minimum wage increases in many cities were driven by changes in the labor market instead of political decisions. "Low-income workers in both coastal cities and inland cities have seen a minimum wage increase in the past two years, but the increase was moved by labor shortage," he told the Global Times Tuesday.

Besides, the adjustment of minimum wages does not affect white-collar workers or recent graduates, he added.

However, He, the manager of a cleaning company in Shanghai, said that the increase in minimum wages had brought a lot of pressure on her company and others in the service sector.

"The salary of our workers is pegged to the local minimum wage. The minimum wage has increased in recent years, and our labor costs are much higher than before," she told the Global Times Tuesday.

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