Thu, Jul 02, 2009 - Page 3 News List

New help hotline for foreign workers launched by CLA

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) yesterday launched a toll-free, 24-hour hotline to provide consultation services for foreign workers.

Although the council already offers toll-free 0800 numbers to assist foreign workers, the numbers are 10 digits long and difficult to remember, Council Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) said.

The four-digit 1955 hotline will be easier for everyone to remember, she said.

“The 1955 hotline is open all-day, everyday, which solves the problem of many workers not being able to call for help at night and during holidays,” Wang said.

In the past, the 0800 numbers received about 70,000 calls a year from foreign workers and their employers, she said.

BUDGET

The council is spending about NT$36 million (US$1 million) this year setting up the hotline, as well as about NT$26 million on training operators.

The council is also planning to offer similar consultation services for domestic workers and could launch hotline services as early as the beginning of next year, she said.

SERVICES

The hotline, a joint effort between the council, Chunghwa Telecom and the Garden of Hope Foundation, answers questions regarding foreign workers’ job contracts, salary, work hours and work injuries.

It also provides brokering services for foreign workers, employers and the general public.

“The hotline employs service operators who speak English, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Thai,” Garden of Hope Foundation executive director Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容) said.

It is free of charge from landline phones, mobile phones or public phones using IC cards.

DISPUTES

Foreign workers who encounter disputes with their employers or have been treated unfairly or physically abused can call the hotline to report abuse and ask the authorities to investigate the allegations.

In the event that workers encounter legal problems or need shelter, the hotline will also provide legal consultation or refer workers to where they can obtain temporary shelter.

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