Hundreds of workers and representatives of dozens of labor rights groups yesterday rallied in front of the Executive Yuan in Taipei to protest proposed amendments to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), which they said would set back working conditions by 30 years.
The proposal is the “worst” piece of labor legislation as it would raise the ceiling on the number of consecutive working days from six to 12 days, while allowing industries to lower the minimum rest time between shifts from 11 hours to eight hours, they said.
The amendment runs counter to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) pledges to lower overall working hours while increasing salary levels, protesters said.
Medical Industries Union chairperson Chen Yu-feng (陳玉鳳) said medical professionals are regularly overworked and sleep-deprived as they are rarely allowed proper rest time between shifts, and the amendment would worsen their working conditions.
Sleep-deprivation is similar to being drunk and medical professionals who lack sleep would be taking care of patients in a state similar to intoxication, Chen said.
“As a doctor, Premier William Lai (賴清德) lacks medical ethics,” Chen said, calling Lai an “accomplice of capitalists” and demanding his resignation.
While the premier has proposed a series of policies aimed at solving industrial shortages, such as water and electricity, workers also have to face “shortages of health, dignity, rest, salary and union protection,” Solidarity Labor Union secretary-general Huang Yu-te (黃育德) said.
Kaohsiung City Confederation of Trade Union deputy director Chiang Chien-hsin (江健興) challenged Cabinet members’ statements that workers in central and southern Taiwan “like working overtime,” saying Taiwan’s average number of working hours already far surpass other countries.
Longer working hours do not necessarily translate into economic competitiveness, as Taiwan’s annual average working hours of 2,142 hours far exceed Japan’s 1,745 hours, Chinese Culture University law professor Chiu Chun-yen (邱駿彥) said.
The amendment, which will raise the maximum overtime hours from 46 to 54 per month, but caps the three-month total at 138, would provide a legal ground for employers to ask workers to work overtime for up to 54 hours for four months in a row, Chiu said.
While the amendment would allow for a one-year extension of unused annual leave, protesters said that employers should obtain the written consent of employees, amid fears that employers might use it as a legal excuse to prevent workers from taking leave.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said the draft amendment is overbiased toward businesses and the party would oppose legislation that worsens working conditions.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,