Wed, Apr 15, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Contract workers demand rights

NO PROTECTIONS Contract civil servants say they often work for the government for years without receiving an adequate pension. They also fear being fired arbitrarily

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Dozens of contractors yesterday gathered in front of the Council of Labor Affairs building to protest the council’s failure to protect their rights.

The demonstrators said they represented the 26,000 civil service contract employees nationwide who are not protected by the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) and other laws governing public employees.

Covering their faces and tying bandannas around their heads that read, “Give me back by labor rights,” they shouted, “Labor Standards Act applies to all.”

The protesters urged the council to protect their rights by announcing that the Labor Standards Act is applicable to them, and cited Article 3 of the Act, which said that it “shall apply to all forms of employee-employer relationships.”

Although the government promised thousands of civil service contract employment openings at national job fairs across the country, they were not the type of stable positions job seekers were hoping for, but rather “disposable chopsticks” that could be thrown away after use, they said.

Labor Rights Association president Wang Chuan-ping (王娟萍), one of the protest leaders, urged the council to include them under the Labor Standards Act this year.

“We don’t want unstable work. We live with the fear of being the first to be laid off,” she said. “We work for 10, 20 years, but get no pension.”

A woman who has worked for the Taipei Police Department for 22 years as a contractor said that although the Labor Standards Act applies to temporary workers, the department signed them on as short-term contractors so they could legally lay them off. In the end, she only received a NT$150,000 pension from the government.

In response, the Council of Labor Affairs said that the issue was under the jurisdiction of the Examination Yuan’s Ministry of Civil Service.

“We are concerned about their labor rights, so we will help them voice their concerns to the Ministry of Civil Service,” Department of Labor Standards Section Chief Wang Chin-yang (王進揚) said.

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