Wed, Jun 03, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Laundry union wins concessions

PARTICIPATION ENCOURAGED:The group said it had negotiated for its about 80 members to be eligible for bonuses in a bid to encourage participation in the union

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

China Pacific Laundry Services agreed to a NT$5,000 pay raise for every employee, among other benefits, to end a strike by its workers’ union.

The China Pacific Laundry Services Workers’ Union agreed to terminate the strike by midnight on Monday, marking the end of its approximately 26-hour occupation of the company’s premises.

The company, a majority holding of China Airlines (CAL) — Taiwan’s largest carrier — cleans the uniforms of CAL flight attendants, as well as blankets, seat covers and dining towels from the airline.

The company also promised to stop outsourcing work to other laundry contractors without union approval and agreed to stop deducting NT$2,500 from the wages of migrant workers for food and lodging.

The final measure was an indication of solidarity between Taiwanese workers and their Southeast Asian counterparts, the union said.

“Members of the union clearly understood that the relationship between Taiwanese workers and migrant workers should not be based on competition between the groups,” union secretary-general Lin Chuang-chou (林莊周) said.

“If migrant workers suffer from dismal labor conditions, the wages of Taiwanese workers will not go up either,” Lin said.

The union also demanded that the company provide NT$6,000 per year in bonuses for union members — who account for about 80 out of a total of 130 employees — and the company agreed.

Union leaders said the measure was to encourage participation in union activities and prevent “free riders” from reaping the hard-earned results of the protests.

Protests erupted last month after the company began to outsource work to other laundry contractors, leading to a significant drop in overtime pay.

Workers at the firm reacted vociferously to the outsourcing, as overtime pay accounted for about one-third of their wages, while the base wages of many senior workers was less than the minimum wage of NT$19,263 per month, Lin said.

“The workers were adamant in their demands to end all forms of outsourcing and temporary employment,” Lin said, adding that while the company agreed to pay raises during earlier negotiations last month, the strike was triggered by disagreement over calls to ban outsourcing.

While the union originally sought a NT$10,000 raise for all employees, it agreed to lower its demand to NT$5,000 after negotiations with the company, the union said.

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