Sun, Jun 27, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ LaborTeachers form union

A group of schoolteachers in Kaohsiung formed a union yesterday, making it the first local-government-sanctioned teachers' union. Current law forbids teachers from forming unions. After strong lobbying by many teachers, the Bureau of Labor Affairs under the Kaohsiung City Government finally approved the union's formation. A founding ceremony was held at Kaihsuan Elementary School yesterday morning led by Chen Ming-pin (陳銘彬), a teacher at the Kaohsiung City Boys' Senior High School. More than 50 teachers and their representatives attended the ceremony. Chen said the union will not only promote teachers' rights and benefits but also will push teachers to fulfill their social responsibilities.

■ Labor

Race winners get promoted

With government jobs at stake, more than 200 temporary workers at Taichung City Government's Environmental Protection Bureau competed in a grueling physical fitness test yesterday. Bureau officials said that there are 32 vacancies for cleaners this year and that they intend to fill these positions with temporary workers it currently employs. In the test, both male and female participants were required to run for 50m while carrying a 30kg sandbag. Those with the top 32 times were to be upgraded from temporary employment to become formal employees of the bureau. This would mean a pay raise of more than NT$10,000 (US$296.73) per month and other civil service benefits for those workers with the best times in the race.

■ Conservation

Fish fry freed offshore

The Hsinchu County Government and several fishing-industry groups released more than 200,000 fish fry offshore yesterday as part of efforts to promote sustainable development of the fishing industry. Many schoolchildren also joined in the event. A county official said fishery resources in Taiwan's coastal areas have been dwindling because of poaching by Chinese fishing boats in recent years. Worse still, the official said, Chinese fishermen illegally use dragnets, aggravating the decline of fishery resources by also trapping smaller fish. The official said the county government hopes the program can enhance local people's environmental awareness and lead them to work with the government to conserve maritime resources.

■ Chips

China investment urged

Lin Hsin-Yi (林信義), a senior adviser to Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), said more of the nation's chipmakers should be allowed to invest in China to compete with startup rivals on that side of the Taiwan Strait, a Chinese-language newspaper reported, citing Lin. Taiwan should allow more companies to operate in China to compete with newcomers that are "ruining prices," the paper reported Lin as saying. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world's largest supplier of made-to-order chips, in April won permission from the nation's government to open Taiwan's first chipmaking plant in China, a project that will cost US$898 million. Taiwan Semiconductor competes with Chinese chipmakers such as Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp of Shanghai (SMIC). Taiwan, whose largest industry is chipmaking, has kept local manufacturers out of China before now.

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