The government of Tianjin Municipality, the leading port city in North China, has approved a13.5-percent rise in the minimum monthly salary to 670 yuan (84 U.S. dollars) as of April 1 to combat increases in the cost of utilities.
"This move aims to guarantee a decent standard of living for the medium-and low-income groups," said Tang Yanqin, head of the municipal bureau of labor and social security.
"As the prices of tap water, electricity and gas are expected to increase this year, the salary rise is necessary," he added.
The city estimated that the average salary in 2005 was 16.6 percent up on the previous year and reached 1,793 yuan (224 dollars). Accordingly, the minimum wage has to be raised from the current 590 yuan (74 dollars), Tang said.
The minimum wage per hour for a part-time job will be raised from 5.6 yuan (0.7 dollar) to 6.4 yuan (0.8 dollar).
The minimum salary has been raised five times in Tianjin during the past five years from 350 yuan (44 dollars) to 590 yuan (74 dollars), increasing by an average of 11 percent per year.