Dozens of former dispatch workers and their supporters protested outside a meeting between the management of the Taiwan Broadcasting System (TBS) and the station’s viewers in Taoyuan County yesterday. The demonstrators voiced their disappointment at the management’s decision to fire six dispatch workers despite its promise to put all dispatch workers on its payroll.
Standing behind a large banner that read “The Public Television violates the law,” and placards accusing the TBS of breaching its promises and breaking labor laws, dozens of former TBS dispatch workers and labor rights advocates demonstrated outside Zhongli Arts Hall in Jhongli City (中壢), Taoyuan County, where the TBS management met with viewers to listen to what they have to say about the TV station.
“In December last year, the new board of directors promised that they would place all 157 of us on the official payroll, but six of us were eventually laid off,” former TBS dispatch worker Chen Ying-chieh (陳盈潔) said. “We have filed a complaint to the Taipei City Department of Labor and appealed the decision with the TBS.”
She said that management had asked them to go through an evaluation procedure that included an interview.
“Wen I asked why, they told me: ‘It’s just standard procedure,’ which would not affect the decision to hire all of us as regular employees,” she said.
However, not long after the interview, Chen was told that she had to leave because she was deemed disqualified.
“The TBS calls itself a TV station that represents everyone in the country. This is not how it should treat its employees,” she said.
National Federation of Independent Trade Unions executive director Chu Wei-li (朱維立) echoed Chen’s sentiments.
“The TBS represents the interests of the public, so it should try to solve the dispatch worker issue. Otherwise we would think that it has lost its founding spirit,” Chu said.
“[The firings are] a shame for a media group with a positive image among the public and that claims to care a lot about human rights,” Chu added.
TBS defended its earlier practice of using dispatch workers as a way to save on salary costs and employee welfare payments.