Sun, Oct 19, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Labor regulations should be relaxed for Air City: MOTC

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said on Friday that regulations governing the introduction of foreign laborers in free trade zones should be eased for one of the government’s 12 major infrastructure projects.

The ministry official was referring to the Taoyuan International Air City, which will include a free trade zone.

The ministry said it hoped that existing labor regulations in local free trade zones — such as a minimum wage, requirements that foreign laborers be limited to 40 percent of a company’s workforce and that Aborigines make up at least 5 percent — would not apply to the airport zone.

The official said the ministry had sent two versions of a draft statute governing the development of Taoyuan International Airport Park to the Executive Yuan for approval.

The first follows existing regulations and would enforce the cap on foreign workers and the payment of a minimum wage. The second said that in special cases companies could apply for exemptions and that the ministry and the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) would jointly screen their applications.

The ministry also hopes to lower the minimum ratio of Aboriginal employees from 5 percent to 1 percent, the official said.

However, the official said: “No company in a free trade zone has a workforce where 40 percent of its workers are foreign laborers. It is not certain which sectors in Air City would need a lot of foreign laborers.”

He said the ministry put forth the second version because it did not want potential investors to have any misgivings about hiring foreign laborers.

Some sectors have in recent years asked the CLA to exempt them from paying foreign laborers a minimum wage, but the requests have been rejected.

The CLA reaffirmed its stance yesterday that any move to bring in more foreign laborers must not undermine job opportunities for Taiwanese.

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