Unions and labor rights groups yesterday called for an end to the contract worker system and outsourcing of labor, while protesting rising prices in New Taipei City (新北市).
Holding signs that read “no to dispatch jobs,” “foreign and domestic workers should enjoy the same salaries” and “apply the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) to contract workers,” about 1,000 workers mobilized by unions and labor advocates marched to the New Taipei City Hall, where they staged a rally, calling on the government to improve labor rights.
One demonstrator, surnamed Hsu (徐), put on a costume to showcase the difficulties that workers face.
On the back of her costume were attached boxes with labels reading “long working hours,” “low salaries” and “job discrimination,” while arrows labeled “rising prices of rice” “rising prices of fuel,” “rising prices of vegetables” and “rising prices of water” were attached to her chest.
“Everything is getting more expensive, but my salary remains the same, everybody is suffering,” Hsu said. “This is why we’re out here voicing our discontent.”
A contract worker for the New Taipei City Environmental Protection Department (EPD) surnamed Wang (王), 50, said she was worried about losing her job.
“The EPD is laying people off to cut costs, instead choosing to outsource jobs,” Wang said.
“I’m very worried, because it would be hard to find a job at my age. I don’t know what else I can do,” Wang said.
New Taipei City officials became more powerful and received increases to their salaries when Taipei County was upgraded to a special municipality in December 2010, she said, but nothing has improved — it has even gotten worse — for workers like herself.
The department plans to lay off 2,000 contract or temporary employees and outsource the jobs, she said.
In a joint statement, groups taking part in the parade, including the Labor Rights Association (LRA), the New Taipei City EPD Union, the New Taipei City Transportation Department Union and the Taiwan Labor Party, called for the abolition of the contract worker system and outsourcing, saying that such -systems only result in the exploitation of workers.
“We’re holding our May Day parade in New Taipei City because we want to show -solidarity with workers here, especially the EPD workers, who might be losing their jobs because of the city government’s plan to lay them off,” LRA chairwoman Wang -Chuan-ping (王娟萍) said.
In addition to yesterday’s -parade, several other labor groups plan to hold a “protest sports contest” on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei tomorrow from 9:30am to 12pm. Details are available at goo.gl/Hl6No.