Tue, May 23, 2000 - Page 1 News List

44-hour work week likely by the end of the year

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The new chair of the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA, 勞委會), Chen Chu (陳菊), said yesterday that she will work to reduce the current 48-hour workweek to 44 hours by the end of this year.

A further reduction to 40 hours a week is expected by the year 2002, Chen said.

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) "campaign check, promising a reduction in the number of work hours, will not bounce," Chen Chu said.

A shorter work week does not mean a reduction in productivity, according to Chen, who claimed that "workers are more efficient when they get sufficient rest."

Chen will also call a meeting in the near future to discuss raising the country's minimum wage, which has not changed for two years.

Meanwhile, Chen said the CLA will reconsider its decision to halt the importation of Filipino workers.

Taiwan suspended the importation of Filipino workers on May 10, claiming that the Manila Economic and Cultural Affairs Office (MECO) was "unreasonably involved in [Taiwan's] domestic affairs" on behalf of Filipino workers in Taiwan.

Chen, a long-time supporter of human rights, said the CLA's previous decision should be re-examined to determine if MECO was acting in the interests of Filipino workers' rights.

Chen also said that Taiwan's system of labor brokers is the source of many of the disputes involving foreign workers, and that the CLA would begin looking at alternative systems of hiring.

At the end of March, foreign workers in Taiwan totaled 301,447. That figure is scheduled to fall by 15,000 this year, Chen said.

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