Sat, Nov 07, 2015 - Page 3 News List

THSRC is violating labor laws, union says

SERIOUS FATIGUE:Railway workers said that due to an old agreement, they have been scheduled to work shifts of almost 24 hours without additional pay

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chao Tien-lin, second left, sits with members of the THSRC Labor Union at their protest in Taipei yesterday against the corporation’s overtime policy.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) union representatives yesterday accused the company of consistently violating the Labor Standards Act (勞基法) by forcing employees to work overtime without additional pay.

“THSRC workers have had to endure long-term overtime working hours, leading to serious fatigue,” THSRC Labor Union president Huang Yu-kai (黃昱凱) said, adding that workers on trains and at stations regularly work more than 200 hours per month.

“Train and station staff are scheduled to work overtime every month without their consent, eating into their days off, including national holidays,” he said, adding that a lack of rest is a threat to passenger safety.

Instead of paying overtime at the end of each month as required by law, overtime hours are counted toward hours worked on the next month’s roster, he said.

Huang said that low-level managers pressure employees to work overtime, even after the union had demanded changes.

He estimated that the company owed workers NT$5 billion (US$152.8 million) in unpaid overtime and holiday pay over the past three years.

Train operator Wang Kai-ti (王凱蒂) said that operators work irregular hours and are often required to work for almost 24 hours in a single shift, which disrupts his sleep patterns and leads to insomnia.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said that the corporation had failed to make improvements, despite repeated citations from labor affairs departments in several cities.

THSRC deputy chairman William Hsu (徐宜中) said that the firm would hire and train several hundred new workers in the coming months to reduce the burden on current employees, adding that in the future, employees would have the right to refuse to work overtime, and that the firm’s current roster system was the result of negotiations between corporate officials and workers’ representatives, with the union only having been established last year.

The firm has lost billions in revenue since it began operations, forcing a financial restructuring plan this year.

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