Thu, Nov 20, 2014 - Page 8 News List

KMT could earn praise by paying back debts

By Yu ying-fu 尤英夫

How very saddening to see reports of members of the Hualon Self-Help Organization and the National Freeway Toll Collectors Association constantly having to protest.

The Hualon group is demanding that its members receive delayed pension and salary payments, of which they have received less than 60 percent of what they are owed. Some might say something is better than nothing.

Beginning tomorrow, the toll collectors group is to conduct a hunger strike protest in front of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) central headquarters in Taipei that is set to last until the eve of the nine-in-one elections, calling on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) not to just think of the elections, but to care more about workers and address these problems.

The Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) stipulates: “An employer shall appropriate a certain sum of money every month and deposit the same in a special account as the reserve fund for retirement benefits for workers.”

It also says failure to do this will incur a fine and the employer will be required to make the fact publicly known and to address the issue within a stated period of time.

How would you feel if you had worked hard for a company your whole life, only to find you would not receive the money you are due simply because the government — local and central — has failed to enforce the law? If it were you, wouldn’t you be on the streets protesting, too?

Ma, as KMT chairman, back when he was campaigning for the chairmanship, promised he would address the issue of the party’s ill-gotten assets before 2008. It is well-known the party has many tens of billions of New Taiwan dollars in assets and that it could conclude these protests with a small fraction of this money.

It would also, at the same time, be able to conform to the Sept. 10, 2012, article by lawyer C.V. Chen (陳長文), former convener of the KMT’s supervisory committee to resolve the issue of its stolen assets, entitled Profits from party assets now used for public good (黨產收益,現在就做公益), in which Chen argued for returning the illegally appropriated assets in full and using them to address social issues.

If these were used, for example, to resolve the aforementioned protests, surely this would also make people trust Ma, more, too.

Yu Ying-fu is a lawyer.

Translated by Paul Cooper

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