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Shanghai Firms Urged to Raise Workers' Pay

That is what the newly released wages and salary guideline of the Shanghai municipal labour and social security bureau says.

Companies that pay twice the average of the city's wages to their workers should raise them by at least 3 percent this year, the city's labour authority suggests in the guideline. The pay rise could be as much as 9 percent for those at average level.

A 12 percent increase has been suggested for those who haven't got an increment for several years and receive only half the average wage.

Enterprises with poor operation have been asked to abide by the 3 percent minimum standard.

The city's average monthly salary last year was 2,464 yuan.

The guideline emphasizes fair pay for employees at different levels, and says companies should keep the pay differences between management and workers at a reasonable level.

Workers who haven't got an increment or have had to do with meagre raises for more than two years should get a big hike, the guideline says.

Employees dissatisfied with their pay have the right to choose representatives or trade unions to discuss the issue with their employers. Employers, on the other hand, have no right to reject a pay rise without proper reason, according to a directive from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

A sample survey of the city's 250 enterprises has found that more than half of their manual workers haven't received an increment for at least three years. Some even hadn't got a pay rise for up to six years.

The situation in some State-owned enterprises (SOEs) gets worse. A survey of 1,000 manual laborers from 100 SOEs found that 42.5 percent of them haven't had a pay rise since 2002, while the average salary of top management staff in 142 listed Shanghai firms last year was 405,300 yuan, excluding their income from sale of shares.

At a conference on the city's social security issues on May 8, a government official said many enterprises with good business only increase their managers' pay, which increases the manager-worker income gap further.

(China Daily May 12, 2007)

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