Thu, Dec 13, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Labor, environment not sacrificial tools for progress: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The National Conference on Industrial Development that concluded on Tuesday proposed sacrificing the rights of local workers and the environment for the sake of corporate gains and failed to lay out a vision for the nation’s industrial transformation, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said yesterday.

“We did not see any vision in its final report. What’s worse, the government appears ready to sacrifice local workers and the environment to benefit corporations, which is what no other advanced economies would do,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.

The two-day conference concluded that labor regulations, including policies governing migrant workers, should be relaxed to better meet corporate needs.

The DPP caucus, along with many environmental activists, argued that many conclusions listed as “collective opinions” were “partial opinions,” because they failed to take different opinions into consideration.

The conclusions suggested that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration stands alongside the rich, corporates and management, DPP Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) said.

On labor affairs, future policy direction appears to be tending toward allowing the entry of more foreign workers, promoting more part-time jobs, extending working hours and cutting wages to help management reduce costs, Lin said.

These measures would not upgrade the nation’s industrial structure, but would instead push it back to the old economic model that is dependent on labor-intensive sectors and exploits workers, she said, adding that an influx of Chinese blue-collar workers is to be expected.

An even more serious concern is the government appears ready to make environmental impact assessment only a “reference,” rather than the deciding factor, for every developmental project, she said.

“The DPP supports industrial development, but the days of sacrificing working conditions and the environment for economic growth is past,” DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said.

“We are extremely disappointed in the conference,” Tsai said.

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