Wed, May 01, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Unions, labor groups to march, rally in Taipei today

By Yang Chiu-ying, Alison Hsiao and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Tens of thousands of people from labor groups and workers’ unions are scheduled to rally in front of the Presidential Office today in two separate demonstrations to back appeals for workers’ rights and a fairer pension system.

Confederation of Taoyuan Trade Unions chairman Mao Chen-fei (毛振飛) said that about 25,000 people would meet in front of the Legislative Yuan at 2:30pm for the march he is leading.

“We demand the government push through productive reforms for the pension systems, allows for systematic increases in the minimum wage, implement a collective negotiation system, unify wages for domestic and foreign workers, and abolish the system of job responsibility,” Mao said.

More than 10,000 workers and representatives from eight workers’ unions, including the Chinese Federation of Labour and the Taiwan Federation of Labor, will stage a separate demonstration against President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government’s pension reforms.

A procession is scheduled to depart at 2pm from Liberty Square to Ketagalan Boulevard, where union representatives will give speeches about the closely watched reforms.

Meanwhile, healthcare providers yesterday accused the government of breaking its promises to healthcare workers.

The Taiwan Healthcare Reform Foundation, the Taiwan Medical Alliance for Labor Justice and Patient Safety (TMAL), the Taiwan Nurse Union and the Reform Team on Physicians’ Labor Conditions (RTPLC) told a press conference that the government had failed to allow intern and resident physicians to be covered by the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), to integrate nurse-to-patient ratios and healthcare providers’ work hours in hospital evaluation criteria, and to make the evaluation results transparent, all of which had been promised.

“More than 70 percent of the interns and residential physicians polled in a survey we conducted last year work more than 80 hours per week. Many of them even work 36 consecutive hours. This kind of overworking can result in medical malpractice,” RTPLC representative Chen Ping-hui (陳秉暉) said.

The survey also found the percentage of malpractice incidents and compromised healthcare quality was greater among doctors who work more than 80 hours a week than those who work fewer hours.

TMAL chairman Chong Chee-Fah (張志華) said doctors, most of whom are employees under the National Health Insurance system, have been pushing to be included under the Labor Standards Act for 15 years.

“Limiting resident physicians’ work hours would not just to improve physicians’ labor rights, but also benefit patients,” he said.

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