The Chunghwa Telecom Workers' Union (CTWU) may team up with other industrial unions nationwide to form a new political party and field their own candidates in the next legislative elections, union chairman Chang Hsu-chung (張緒中) said yesterday.
Chang said the CTWU's board of directors held a meeting and agreed that he would be appointed to organize a new party to represent members of all workers' unions nationwide -- including teachers -- so that union members might be represented independently in the legislature.
Workers groups have been dependent on other political parties to fight for their rights and interests, Chang said, but by organizing their own party, the workers would have a better means to advance their causes.
He said that NT$10 million (US$304,000) in funding had already been secured, enough for the proposed party to field 10 candidates in the Jan. 12 polls.
Chang said members of national federations of industries, as well as the CTWU and the Formosa Plastics Workers' Union met on July 19 for a preparatory meeting for the establishment of the new party, tentatively named the "Workers Solidarity Union." These representatives will meet again on Aug. 21, when the party could be formally established, he said.
He said the new party would campaign for a nationwide referendum on a workers' version of a pension policy, instead of an Executive Yuan's annuity policy; a referendum on banning dispatch workers and guarantees that would stabilize employment opportunities.
He said it was too early to speculate on whether the name of the new political party would be be the "Workers Solidarity Union Party." It could also be called the "Third Force Reform Union" or something else, Chang said.
With 8.6 million workers in Taiwan, political analysts said the proposed party could turn into a force to be reckoned with if it wins the support of union members around the country.