Wed, Dec 10, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Taipei candidates back teachers’ right to conduct strikes

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

National Federation of Teachers’ Unions president Chang Hsu-cheng, center, yesterday questions candidates for the next director of the Taipei City Government’s Department of Labor about their views on teachers’ labor rights.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Four candidates running for director of the Taipei Labor Department yesterday pledged their support to the nation’s teachers to have the right to conduct strikes.

With a shared background in labor rights activism, the four candidates rank among 23 qualified participants in Taipei mayor-elect Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) unconventional plan to invite public participation in appointing the department’s future director, which has traditionally been an appointed position.

Although the nation’s teachers have had the right to unionize since 2010, current regulations prohibit teachers from conducting strikes, National Federation of Teachers’ Unions president Chang Hsu-cheng (張旭政) said.

Teachers’ unions face challenges on their collective bargaining rights from the Ministry of Education, as well as skepticism from parent’s associations, Chang said.

“Teachers’ rights to unionize are constantly restricted by school administrators on the grounds of protecting students’ rights to education,” Chang said.

“Many public-sector employees face restrictions to their labor rights,” Chang said. “Firefighters and policeofficers are still fighting for their rights to unionize.”

The four candidates who expressed support for the teachers’ unions are Raging Citizens Act Now secretary-general Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶); Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions secretariat Shieh Tsuan-chih (謝創智); Soochow University professor Hu Po-yen (胡博硯); and former National Taiwan University Labor Union secretary-general Kenny Lin (林凱衡).

Hu said public agencies in the municipal government should all have the right to unionize and engage in collective bargaining under Ko’s administration, adding that the future director of labor should aid teachers in their negotiations with the Department of Education.

“I think we should promote education on teachers’ labor rights,” Shieh said.

“If there actually comes a day when teachers’ unions stage a strike, it would most likely be in reaction to significant problems within our government, and would act as an opportunity to pursue reform in the educational system,” Shieh said.

This story has been viewed 1678 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top