Long hours and low pay are fueling surging turnover among nurses, a report released by the Taiwan Nurse’s Union found.
The report found that about one-in-seven nurses left their jobs over the past year, with the number among first-year graduates significantly higher, at one out of five, while more than 70 percent of hospitals face difficulties in recruiting new nurses.
Union president Jane Lu (盧孳艷) said that a recent NT$2.5 billion (US$81.2 million) government project led by the Ministry of Health and Welfare has failed to improve working conditions for nurses as a result of lax oversight, while claims that the wages of nurses have improved were mostly false.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
Lu said that average wages for nurses have fallen from NT$41,878 two years ago to NT$40,306, adding that base pay on average accounted for just 63 percent of wages among most nurses, with the remaining 37 percent coming from various unstable sources, including bonuses, stipends for working at night or overtime pay.
She said that unreliable stipends and bonuses were used as methods of control to keep nurses silent about unreasonable working conditions, while sky-high penalty fees for breaches of contract also aimed to keep nurses from leaving their posts.
Taiwan Labour Front secretary-general Son Yu-liam (孫友聯) said government agencies should clamp down on instances of hospitals providing false information about employee wages.
Department of Labor Relations deputy director Hsieh Chien-chien (謝倩蒨) at the Ministry of Labor said that 30 percent of hospitals and clinics were fined for failing to pay employees overtime during a large labor inspection last year.
The Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office has listed six people as suspects in a judicial investigation into a fatal train crash on Friday last week. Fifty people were killed and more than 200 were injured when the Taroko Express No. 408 train slammed into a crane truck that had slid onto the tracks near the entrance of Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The office also summoned six officials at the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) Hualien Engineering Section for questioning about alleged illegal business operations and unsafe work conditions by Yi Hsiang Industry Co and Tung Hsin Construction Co, the two
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