Sat, Sep 09, 2017 - Page 3 News List

KMT’s Wu calls on premier to adjust workweek policy

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday called on newly inaugurated Premier William Lai (賴清德) to make adjustments to controversial policies, in particular the “one fixed day off and one flexible rest day” workweek.

While not introduced with bad intentions, the policy shows that the government is naive enough to think that it could “make one shoe that fits all 23 million people,” Wu said at a social event in Taipei attended by former national policy advisers who served under former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

The policy is unrealistic and has caused inconvenience for employers and employees, Wu said, citing as examples nurses and bus drivers, who are required to work long hours and cannot adhere to fixed shifts.

He said he hopes Lai will make good on a pledge to make necessary adjustments to the workweek policy, adding that he is eagerly anticipating Lai’s work to address the issue.

The nation’s energy options and whether to phase out nuclear power is another issue the public is concerned about that Lai needs to address, Wu said.

He said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was dominating legislative sessions with its majority and expressed hope that opposition parties would join forces to call for a constitutional interpretation of budget requests for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, which requires the approval of one-third of lawmakers.

The KMT has claimed that the Legislative Yuan’s approval of the Executive Yuan’s budget requests is illegal, saying the DPP violated legislative procedure.

When it had the legislative majority, the KMT caucus was gentle and humble when dealing with opposition lawmakers, Wu said.

The KMT will continue to demonstrate such qualities, but that does not mean that it will hesitate to stand up for the values it believes in, he added.

However, former national policy adviser Chao Shou-po (趙守博) said that the bill to reduce weekly work hours from 42 to 40, leading to the introduction of a five-day workweek, was passed during Ma’s second term, just weeks before last year’s presidential election.

“I did not hear anyone accuse KMT [lawmakers] of slacking off,” Chao said.

The workweek policy is problematic, but it could have been different if employers and workers had communicated better before it was implemented, he added.

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