Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Labor groups camp outside legislature

‘IMPRISONED ITSELF’:The legislature should represent the public, but it has surrounded itself with barricades as though it is afraid of something, a union leader said

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

A labor rights protester yesterday waves an umbrella in front of a police barricade outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

Photo: CNA

Labor rights groups yesterday camped outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, demanding that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) withdraw its proposed amendment to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) that passed its first review at the legislature on Dec. 4.

An extraordinary legislative session that began yesterday is slated to conduct cross-party negotiations over the amendment proposed by the Cabinet.

The Legislative Yuan had asked protesters not to gather on Zhenjiang Street (鎮江街), because there is a kindergarten there, event co-organizer and Taipei City Confederation of Trade Unions executive director Chen Shu-lun (陳淑綸) said, citing a police statement.

On Sunday night, the groups announced that the staging area was changed from the intersection of Zhenjiang Street and Qingdao E Road to the intersection of Qingdao E and Zhongshan S roads.

By marching and camping near the legislature, they hope to pressure lawmakers from different parties into entering negotiations on the clauses of the amendment, given that no negotiations have taken place over the past month, she said.

How long they would camp outside the legislature depends on lawmakers’ progress in reviewing the amendment, Chen said.

Several scuffles broke out between police and protesters between 11am and noon yesterday, as the latter tried and failed to push through police barricades.

Their plan to circle the Legislative Yuan also failed, as police kept them a block away from its entrances on all sides.

Some residents on Zhenjiang Street also argued with police, saying that they had never been barred from their own homes.

Protesters returned to their staging area in the afternoon and started to camp on Qingdao E Road.

The Legislative Yuan should represent the public’s opinions, but it went so far as to “imprison itself” with such a stunning number of barricades as if it is afraid of something, Chen said.

At about 6:30pm, members of the Taoyuan Confederation of Trade Unions initiated another protest by lying on the rails at Taipei Railway Station to show that the DPP’s promotion of the amendment is as violent as trains running over workers’ bodies, the confederation said in a statement.

The act has been a source of controversy since an amendment that canceled seven national holidays and introduced the “one fixed day off and one flexible rest day” policy was passed in December 2016.

Premier William Lai (賴清德), after taking office in September last year, started planning another amendment that he said would give more flexibility to small and medium-sized businesses, which triggered protests from different walks of society.

The DPP should present solid statistics and reports to illustrate which industries and companies need what kind of flexibility for their work schedules, instead of drawing questionable hearsay from unknown figures, Taiwan Higher Education Union secretary-general Chen Cheng-liang (陳政亮) said.

When it was in the opposition, the DPP used to say that the then-ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was corrupt and shameless, but those adjectives can now be applied to itself, Chen added.

More than 30 academics on Thursday last week launched a petition against the proposed amendment, which had garnered signatures from 253 academics as of press time last night.

This story has been viewed 3503 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top