President Ma Ying-jeou’s administration signed a cross-strait service trade pact with China in an entirely incoherent fashion and without discussing it with Taiwanese, dealing a heavy blow to approximately 80 percent of the Greater Kaohsiung Confederation of Trade Unions’ members. The move has incited strong opposition among the local working class, who came out on July 25 to voice their opposition to so-called “black-box” tactics used in signing the agreement. The following day the Greater Kaohsiung Confederation of Trade Unions, the Vocational Trade Union Confederation and the Civil Service Trade Union, among others, held an explanatory session titled “Against the Cross-strait Service Trade Pact” to show that the Ma administration’s misgovernment has left the public with no other choice but to rebel.
Greater Kaohsiung Confederation of Labor Unions’ president Chen Chih-ming says, “Of course laborers must rebel when they have nothing to eat.” He is critical of the Ma government’s opaqueness in signing the pact because it will negatively affect around 70 percent of Kaohsiung companies, including beauty parlors, cleaners, print shops, food shops and restaurants, as well as leather shoe dealers, eyeglass shops and watch sellers. They will all suffer a huge influx of Chinese investments, he says. Hired and self-employed laborers will lose their right to work as well as their livelihood, Chen says, adding that signing the pact will be highly beneficial for Chinese investors but not Taiwanese workers.
Su Yu-chih, president of the Kaohsiung Hair Industry Trade Union, says that the pact will hurt both companies and the public. Using the hair salon and beauty parlor industry as an example, Su says that having enough Chinese capital to meet the basic monetary requirement for applying to come to Taiwan makes it a relatively cheap way to immigrate. After entering the country, there will inevitably be numerous franchises opening, using the opening of such businesses as a cover for real estate speculation, keeping laborers and young people from ever being able to afford housing prices and leaving them indefinitely without homes of their own. By contrast, “fake merchants” from China that will spill into Taiwan and covertly emigrate will be able to enjoy the benefits of compulsory education and national health insurance while Taiwanese foot the bill, Su says.
1. influx n.
湧進；匯集 (yong3 jin4; hui4 ji2)
例: The restaurant has seen an influx of new customers since it got a new chef.
2. foot the bill idiom
負擔費用；會帳 (fu4 dan1 fei4 yong4; hui4 zhang4)
例: When we went out for dinner last night, my mother footed the bill as usual.
3. animosity n.
敵意 (di2 yi4)
例: Many people still feel animosity toward the Nazis.
Greater Kaohsiung Confederation of Trade Unions’ secretary-general Shih De-lung says that nearly 80 percent of its members are in the service sector, or more than 50,000 people. Most of the union members who will be affected by the agreement are still in the dark about what the agreement signed by the Ma government means for them, Shih says. He is keen on requiring that the government offer a clear explanation of the pact, particularly as the animosity between China and Taiwan has yet to be reconciled, adding that by opening the telecommunications and finance sectors to Chinese investment it could possibly lead to security issues regarding classified and personal information, harming workers’ rights and putting the public in danger.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)