Wed, Jan 04, 2012 - Page 4 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: Ma’s labor policy a ‘miserable failure’: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) performance on labor issues during the past four years has been a “miserable failure” because he is incompetent and does not know how to identify problems, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

Former Council of Labor Affairs minister Lu Tien-lin (盧天麟) and Liu Ching-hsing (劉進興), a professor and former DPP legislator, critiqued Ma’s labor policy and submitted four questions to the president during a press conference at the DPP’s headquarters yesterday.

“We would like to know why you [Ma] couldn’t find a solution to the increasing number of workers who are on involuntary furloughs and the increasing number of part-time workers?” Liu said.

“Why did you raise your own salary — along with public servants’ — when the average salary for a great majority of workers decreased to levels seen 13 years ago? And why do you keep making promises to voters about labor issues after you have failed to deliver on your pledges from four years ago?” he added.

“Ma’s performance on labor-related issues has been miserable,” Liu said, adding that more than 40,000 workers are currently on furlough and the number of part-time workers is at an all-time high of 723,000.

Council statistics released on Saturday said that a total of 13,034 employees had reached agreements with their employers to take unpaid leave and 12,487 of them are currently on furlough.

While commodity prices and the unemployment rate are increasing, workers’ salaries have been going in the other direction, Liu said, as 3.55 million workers — about 43 percent of the nation’s workforce — earn less than NT$30,000 a month and 910,000, or 11 percent of the workforce, earn less than NT$20,000 a month.

Ma has not stabilized the employment situation during his term in office or addressed the issue of part-time workers in his policy platform, Liu said.

Citing information provided by labor rights organizations, Lu said that among Ma’s 24 pledges related to labor policy made during his 2008 presidential campaign, 10 were not carried out at all and eight were partially implemented.

According to Lu, the council has demanded that corporations disclose furlough figures, “but that was probably the only thing it had done regarding furloughs because it has had trouble coming up with solutions.”

Lu and Liu are part of the DPP’s “interpellation group on national affairs,” which was established to examine Ma’s performance by posing questions related to cross-strait, domestic and foreign affairs, as well as defense policies daily until election day on Jan. 14.

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