A poll released on the eve of Workers’ Day on Monday found that people in Taiwan have concerns over the country’s labor environment, with 82.8 percent saying that incomes are generally not high enough to cover living expenses.
Only 15.9 percent of respondents said incomes were adequate, while 1.3 percent said they did not know or had no opinion, according to the poll, conducted by market research and polling company Taiwan Trend Research Co (台灣趨勢研究).
BEYOND THEIR MEANS
Respondents in the 40-59 age bracket had the strongest sense that general income levels in Taiwan were inadequate, with 86 percent saying salaries were not high enough to meet daily expenses, the poll found.
Even 65 percent of military personnel, civil servants and teachers — who are generally considered to have the most stable incomes — felt living expenses were exceeding people’s financial means.
In addition, 48.2 percent of all respondents worried that they would lose their jobs or be laid off over the next year, the poll showed.
More than half of the respondents in the 40-59 age bracket, the most of any age group, were worried about the possibility of losing their jobs, as were 58 percent of blue-collar respondents.
Meanwhile, more than half of all respondents felt that salaried workers in Taiwan spent too much time at work, with 69 percent among the 20-29 age bracket feeling that way, the most of any age group.
The poll also found that nearly two-thirds of respondents agreed that the government should take the lead in banning the use of temporary workers.
“Overall, Taiwanese gave the country’s labor conditions an average score of 54.6 out of 100, showing that the public thinks there is still room for improvement,” said Sam Peng (彭賢恩), director of the research company.
The poll, conducted between April 9 and April 20, collected 1,071 effective samples from respondents more than 20 years old.
It had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Lee Chien-hung (李健鴻), an associate professor of labor relations at Chinese Culture University, said the poll showed that “many workers are painstakingly toiling away at their jobs.”
Though it is understandable that some manufacturers need to hire contract workers to rush orders, it is harder to understand why some reputable domestic brands regularly hire temporary workers when they should be able to forecast and control shipments of their orders, he said.
“It is a result of a lack of corporate social responsibility,” said Lee, who cited smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電) as one of the firms that unnecessarily uses temporary workers.
He also expressed concern over the hiring of contract workers by government agencies, saying that they may not receive compensation if they suffer work-related injuries because all government budgets need to be prepared in advance.
Taiwan Labor Front (台灣勞工陣線) secretary-general Son Yu-lian (孫友聯) described the poll results as “sounding a big warning” and said he hoped that the government would take steps to improve the labor environment in Taiwan.