The government agencies’ hiring of temporary workers has reached an “outrageous level” and should be perceived as a national disgrace, lawmakers and labor rights advocates said yesterday, demanding the government eliminate the hiring of temporary workers within three years.
“It’s absurd that, in some places, temporary workers are in charge of work related to visa and passport issuance,” Taiwan Labor Front (TLF) secretary-general Son Yu-lian (孫友聯) told a press conference in Taipei.
Temporary workers employed by government agencies number 10,738, accounting for 11.1 percent of the 96,651 total temporary workers in the country, according to statistics provided by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics and the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration (DGPA).
The phenomenon is a result of government efforts to slash its expenditure, but concerns have arisen over declining wages, deteriorating work environments and increasing labor disputes, Son said.
The government has outsourced part of its core functions to temporary workers, who are only intended to do short-term, temporary, supplementary or seasonal work, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said.
Temporary workers account for 74 percent of the employees at the National Science Council and 59 percent at the Council of Agriculture, Tuan said, adding that employees at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ consular affairs office in Yunlin and Chiayi counties are all temps.
In addition to lower salaries, the temporary workers also face the risk of abrupt firing, deferred payment and other disputes, DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said, adding that a significant number of labor disputes are unresolved because government agencies and temporary employment agencies try to evade their responsibilities.
The lawmakers and the TLF demanded that the government stop hiring temporary workers within three years and make those who work in the same agencies for a certain number of years full-time employees, adding that an appeal mechanism should also be established to resolve disputes between workers, government agencies and temporary work agencies.
DGPA senior executive officer Lin Tsui-ling (林翠玲) said that core functions of the government should not be outsourced, according to regulations.
Huang Chi-ya (黃琦雅) of the Council of Labor Affairs said the council’s labor inspections have always listed government agencies as priorities.