Low salaries, inadequate retirement guarantees and low organization rates are the top concerns of the nation’s company unions, a survey released yesterday by the Taiwan Labour Front showed.
Eighty percent of unions surveyed by the organization said that low salaries were a top concern, while 57 percent cited lack of adequate retirement guarantees and 38 percent cited low union organization rates.
“If we compare the results with a similar survey we conducted in 2000, there has been a huge change. Unions then were mainly worried about foreign workers, union independence and high unemployment — wages and working hours were far down the list of priorities,” Taiwan Labor and Social Policy Research Association executive director Chang Feng-yi (張烽益) said.
“This is the result of neoliberal globalization and increasing corporate powers, which have forced back salaries,” said Lin Thung-hong (林宗弘), an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology. “Since 2000, we have opened up cross-strait trade and investment, and joined the WTO, which has pounded the traditional manufacturing sector and given corporations ever greater bargaining power over wages.”
Factory closings have also led to the shuttering of many unions, contributing to a sharp drop in union organization rates, he said.
Enhancing prohibitions against illegal behavior, passing a minimum wage and reducing working hours topped policy concerns of unions in the survey, which also found that 27 percent of the unions had never negotiated a collective bargaining agreement, while only 36 percent believed the agreement they had signed was effective.
More than 70 percent of company unions said that the new industrial unions, which have become increasingly prominent since 2010 amendments to the Labor Union Act (工會法), have helped increase organization rates, with more than half stating that the new unions have provided healthy competition and helped improve labor conditions.
Kuan Shao-chun (管紹君), executive secretary of Bank SinoPac’s company union, said that industrial unions were sometimes more effective in mobilizing workers because their officials are not necessarily employed by the same company as the workers they mobilize, making them less vulnerable to pressure and cooption.
The survey was sent to all 895 company unions registered with local governments, with a response rate of 20 percent.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
More than half of Taiwan’s middle-aged population, those aged between 40 and 64, have at least one of the “three highs” — high blood pressure, high blood lipids or high blood sugar — and an unhealthy waist size, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said, adding that more than 30 percent also have metabolic syndrome. The HPA, the Taiwan Millennium Health Foundation and local health departments are cooperating to encourage people to regularly measure their waist circumference and keep it at a healthy size — no more than 90cm for adult men and no more than 80cm for adult women. Taichung Veterans General