Fri, Sep 21, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Taipei seeking venues for foreign migrant workers

By Liu Jung and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Taipei City Government is looking to develop specific venues for social and leisure activities catering to the needs of migrant laborers.

The proposal has been put forth by Taipei City Councilor Lee Chien-chang (李建昌) of the Democratic Progressive Party, who wants foreign migrant workers to have their own meeting and socializing spaces, which would be provided by and supported by the city government.

The Taipei City Government’s Department of Labor says the number of migrant workers in Taipei has reached more than 50,000. Many of them, mainly from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, gather with friends at Taipei Railway Station on their days off.

Lee’s proposal comes in the wake of complaints about migrant workers in the lobby area of the Taipei Railway Station, which prompted the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) to block off large areas of the main lobby.

Foreign migrant workers have staged protests to call attention to what they perceive as discrimination and unfair treatment.

The TRA cited hindrances to passengers carrying luggage and said it was not discriminating against foreign laborers.

“We have so many foreign migrant workers in Taipei. On weekends, many more from New Taipei City (新北市) and other areas come to Taipei to get together with friends,” Lee said on Wednesday. “However, the Taipei City Government has not helped to provide venues for their social and leisure activities.”

Since many foreign workers now gather around the Nung-An Street neighborhood, it would be a good idea to designate venues for them in that vicinity, Lee said.

The areas around the Taipei International Flora Expo Park could be also be turned into new facilities to meet foreign workers’ needs, including venues for culture, sports and leisure, Lee said.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said he would instruct relevant agencies to map out plans.

Department of Labor Commissioner Chen Yeh-hsin (陳業鑫) added his office had started drawing up plans for developing social and leisure venues for foreign workers.

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