Thu, Jul 10, 2003 - Page 2 News List

TSU wants to limit number of free-port foreign workers

CNA , TAIPEI

The TSU said yesterday that the number of foreign workers should be further controlled after a law is passed allowing foreign laborers to work in the nation's free-trade harbor zones.

Echoing the appeal made by a group of labor-affairs activists and representatives of several blue-collar worker organizations yesterday to ban foreign laborers from working at free-trade harbor zones, TSU party whip Chien Lin Whuei-chun (錢林慧君) said once the free-trade harbor zone regulatory provision (自由貿易港區設置條例) becomes law, the TSU will move to demand that the number of foreign laborers working in such zones be restricted.

Chien Lin said the number of foreign laborers working in such zones should be included in the summation control mechanism limiting the overall number of foreign workers in the country.

In a protest held in front of the Legislative Yuan, local labor- affairs activists and representatives of the blue-collar workers organizations demanded that the government bar foreign workers from the free-trade harbor zones, arguing that foreigners have stolen an increasing number of job opportunities from local workers.

Chien Lin and other TSU legislators threw their support behind the activists, although they said it may not be pragmatic to ban foreign workers completely from such zones because of consideration for international practices.

The lawmakers suggested that once the provision becomes law, the TSU will move to see to it that local workers constitute at least 60 percent of the entire labor force in the free-trade harbor zones nationwide.

Meanwhile, the TSU legislators said the party will also move to see to it that the wage regime of the foreign laborers working in such zones is not linked to that of local workers.

As of the end of May, there were more than 280,000 legal foreign laborers in the country, most of whom were working in the manufacturing sector, according to government tallies.

In related news, the employment rate among physically-challenged or mentally-challenged people is very low, the government-run Chianan Sanatorium in Tainan County said yesterday.

The sanatorium said there were 612,942 disabled people aged 15 or over nationwide as of March 2001. Only 116,750 of them, or 19.05 percent, had jobs. A total of 243,033 of them, or 75.91 percent, were unable to work, while the remaining 30,912, or 5.04 percent, couldn't find jobs even though they were able to work.

In comparison, the sanatorium said, those who had limb disabilities had the highest employment rate, at 61.38 percent; followed by the hearing-impaired, at 9.71 percent; the mentally-retarded, at 6.71 percent; and those with mental disorders, at 3.44 percent.

Among those who had jobs, 34.43 percent relied on the assistance of their friends or relatives in landing their jobs.

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