Thu, Dec 25, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Ex-toll collectors offered new job plan

FREEWAY BUREAU:A top official said 2,536 job opportunities in agencies run by the bureau and in 45 Far Eastern Group firms are available to laid-off toll workers

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Freeway Bureau yesterday proposed a new plan to ensure that former toll collectors find employment in other fields, with government agencies and the Far Eastern Group together offering more than 2,500 job openings.

Some of the former toll collectors have been protesting against the Ministry of Transportation and Communications since they lost their jobs in January, saying they are dissatisfied with the settlement plans offered by Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co (FETC), the contractor administering the electronic toll collection system.

They have said that they should be compensated based on seniority and that the bureau has been refusing to do so.

FETC created job opportunities specifically for the former toll collectors, officials said.

The company also promised to compensate the former workers’ salaries for five years, if they get paid less in their new jobs.

However, the plan was limited to jobs offered by the Far Eastern Group.

The former toll collectors asked that they be allowed to find jobs on their own and still receive the compensation plan.

They accused the company of creating jobs that they were not qualified to do as a means to force them to look elsewhere.

Bureau Deputy Director-General Wu Mu-fu (吳木富) said the new plan would offer 2,536 job opportunities in government agencies run by the bureau and in 45 companies affiliated with Far Eastern Group.

“Former toll collectors would be qualified to apply for most of the jobs here, which range from administrative work and marketing to customer service and supermarket clerks,” Wu said. “The 110 job openings offered by the government agencies are positions for contractors or substitutes, whereas those offered by private companies are all full-time positions with monthly salaries.”

Wu said that the plan applies to 296 former toll collectors who turned down jobs previously offered to them or left those jobs soon after they started, adding that the workers must personally apply for any of these new jobs between Thursday next week and June 30 next year.

Employees who get accepted in any of these positions would receive compensation from FETC for five years if they do not receive the same salaries they earned in the past, Wu said.

“However, the plan does not apply to former toll collectors who terminate their employment,” Wu said. “If a former toll collector leaves one of these jobs within six months because they cannot adjust to the new position, FETC is obligated to pay them compensation comparable to five months of a former toll collector’s salary.”

The new plan is perceived by some as a conciliatory move from the government to settle the dispute with the ex-toll collectors, as the ministry was once adamant that it was unable to find more jobs for them in the public sector.

“These are openings that already existed in government agencies,” Wu said, adding that FETC has agreed to cover salary differences.

Statistics from the bureau showed that 429 former toll collectors had indicated that they were willing to accept job placements arranged by FETC.

Currently, only 160 have jobs.

The remaining people are those who either refused other positions offered to them by the company or left the new jobs soon after they were employed.

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