Mon, Apr 20, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Labor groups vow protests over shortchanged workers

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Ma Ying-jeou, center, is encircled by bodyguards in a crowd of job seekers at a job fair in northern district in Taoyuan on Saturday. The extra security check at the fair entrance because of Ma’s attendance was the target of many angry comments by job seekers.

PHOTO: LI JUNG-PING, TAIPEI TIMES

Angered at the government’s failure to protect the rights of irregular workers, labor associations said they would take to the streets on Labor Day to protest.

The Executive Yuan has teamed up with various government agencies, including the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA), holding four job fairs nationwide since the beginning of this month.

Two mass job fairs were held in Taichung and Hualien a week ago, and two more were held in Taoyuan and Tainan on Saturday. The council said that more than 84,000 jobs and 71,000 training positions were available at the fairs.

Among the projected 84,000 full-time jobs, 25,000 were in the public sector and 15,000 in the private sector, while about 20,000 people who qualified would be able to sign up for voluntary military service.

The Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training reported that the Taoyuan job fair attracted more than 41,000 people, but only about a quarter of them were matched up with a job.

The Tainan fair resulted in fewer match-ups — less than 25 percent of the 30,000 people who attended the fair were matched with a job.

Labor associations said that many of the jobs offered by the government were unstable contract employment and were only creating an illusion that more people had found jobs.

In reality, one job has been divvied up into several temporary positions, they said.

“The unpaid leave situation has evolved into a state where workers have to depend on whether employers receive enough orders to call them back to work,” Confederation of Taoyuan Trade Unions chairman Mao Chen-fei (毛振飛) said.

He said that as temporary, short-term, seasonal or special work became more common, the government should crack down on violations to ensure that workers are not compromised in the financial crisis.

Mao will be one of those leading the protest on May 1, when workers will protest the government for its inability to deliver labor rights enshrined in law.

Also See: Cabinet job fairs help 11,000 find jobs

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