Wed, Oct 04, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Changes to labor act can lead to conflict: advocates

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Labor rights advocates yesterday said that a proposed amendment to the controversial workweek policy could lead to more conflict between employees and employers if the two sides cannot back their arguments with valid data.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chung Kung-chao (鍾孔炤), labor advocates and representatives from workers’ unions yesterday held a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, urging employees to ask their employers to stop being greedy, saying that is the reason workers in Taiwan and around the world continue to work for low wages.

More news conferences would not rescue workers from their plight if they do not speak for themselves, they said.

The news conference came ahead of the World Day for Decent Work, which is observed on Oct. 7 every year.

The theme of the International Trade Union Confederation’s May Day statement this year was ending corporate greed, Chung said.

“One fixed day off and one flexible rest day” is supposed to be a progressive policy, but “greedy corporations” have proposed different amendments intended to make it worse than current or previous policies, he said.

The regression proposed by corporations would only make the work environment worse, Chung said, adding that Taiwan is No. 6 among nations with longest working hours.

Statistics have shown that the labor policy has been mostly positive for employees and the work environment, Chung said.

Premier William Lai’s (賴清德) decision to raise the salaries of government employees is meant to raise the salaries of workers in the private sector as well, he added.

“Employees have to work overtime because they are working for low wages. If the amendment was done recklessly, it would be against the idea of upholding workers’ dignity that this administration stands for,” he said.

Taiwan Labor Front secretary-general Sun Yu-lien (孫友聯) said that he has attended many hearings and found that many corporations are simply too greedy, adding that their problems would not be solved even if the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) were abolished.

“The culture of greed has been so deep-rooted that it would take a long time before we feel its pain,” Sun said.

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