Tue, Mar 29, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Labor groups invite Wu to talks

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Labor, tax reform, environmental and other activists hold a briefing on the planned “Mayday poor people’s march” outside the Executive Yuan in Taipei yesterday. The activists invited Premier Wu Den-yih to join them for a “poor people’s breakfast.”

Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday responded positively to an invitation by labor group representatives to a “poor people’s breakfast” to discuss their concerns.

Representatives from dozens of labor groups, including the Taiwan Labor Front, the Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions, the National Federation of Bank Employees Unions and Green Party Taiwan on Sunday handed the invitation to an official at the Executive Yuan. They asked Wu to attend a “poor people’s breakfast,” during which they hope government officials will listen to the needs of those close to or below the poverty line.

Organizers said numerous factors, such as the widening gap between the rich and the poor, deteriorating work conditions in a wide range of industries and an inadequate social security system, had contributed to increased worker exploitation and unfair treatment by employers.

They also plan a series of demonstrations and activities ahead of Labor Day on May 1.

“It’s fine, if they want to sit down with me and talk,” Wu said.

He said the groups seem to think he only had breakfast meetings with businesses associations, when he often had lunch box meetings with people from disadvantaged groups.

The idea of a “poor people’s breakfast” was intended to mock government officials’ frequent breakfast meetings with the corporate sector.

“I handle the administrative affairs of the state, I have to listen to people from all walks of life, from the young to the elderly, disadvantaged groups and large and small businesses that create job opportunities. Why would I decline to meet them?” Wu said.

The groups have asked the Executive Yuan to answer the invitation within one week. Otherwise, they said “the battle would spread to the coming Legislative Yuan and presidential elections.”

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