Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation’s largest telecoms operator, yesterday said it would consider making more temporary workers official employees by establishing a plan with labor unions in the next six months.
Chunghwa Telecom employs 2,392 temporary workers, mostly working in customer services, while the company employs 24,000 official employees.
“We will hold discussions with the board and labor representatives to come up with ways to improve benefits for the company’s temporary workers,” company senior vice president Sheih Chi-mau (謝繼茂) told a press briefing.
Chang Hsu-chung (張緒中), chairman of the Taiwan Telecommunication Network Trade Union (台灣通信網路產業工會), said the company should make its part-time workers official employees, as most of them are driving the company’s normal day-to-day business.
“Since Chunghwa Telecom would need employees to do this business all the time, it should make long-term temporary workers official employees that have the appropriate benefits,” Chang said at a public hearing yesterday.
The working environment for the company’s temporary workers remains difficult and unprotected, union representatives said.
“We have to work nearly 200 hours per month, with pregnant employees working the graveyard shift and not having the right to maternity leave after childbirth,” said a female representative surnamed Lin (林), who has worked as a customer service clerk for more than six years.
Even if Chunghwa Telecom checked every contract drawn up by the agencies providing temporary staff, to make sure the contents fully abide by the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), the company still could not control the benefits available to its temporary workers, Sheih said.
The Council of Labor Affairs has conducted three inspections of local companies using temporary workers over the past three years, but the situation at Chunghwa Telecom is an indication that the council needs to come up with more effective measures to protect temporary workers, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said yesterday.
Pan and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) both urged the council to draw up an amendment to the Labor Standards Act that protects the rights of temporary workers.
“Although some business groups are opposed to the amendment, it is necessary for the council to discuss it with them and add it to the law as soon as possible,” Lo said.
In response, Jerry Liu (劉傳名), director of the council’s Department of Labor Relations, said the council would proceed with the amendment as soon as possible to prohibit agencies from exploiting temporary workers’ rights.
“The council will also hold a fourth inspection at Chunghwa Telecom in August or September,” Liu said.