Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday urged the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus to hold public hearings about the Cabinet’s draft amendment to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), which advanced to legislative committee reviews on Friday.
Wu made the remarks yesterday morning on the sidelines of a conference on vegetarianism at National Taiwan University, in response to media inquiries about alleged tensions within the KMT caucus due to a lack of consensus among the party’s lawmakers on how to handle the draft amendment.
Some KMT lawmakers were reported to have insisted on blocking the draft amendment from being forwarded for committee reviews, while others, including KMT caucus whip Lin Te-fu (林德福), only demanded that public hearings be held to solicit opinions before the bill could clear the legislative floor.
Photo: Wang Chun-chieh, Taipei Times
Media also speculated that Lin’s softened stance might be due to a quid pro quo deal with DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), under which the DPP caucus would purportedly shelve a draft transitional justice promotion act in exchange for the advancement of the labor amendment.
“It is the right move for the KMT caucus to call for public hearings so as to solicit opinions from the workers, employers and specialists,” Wu said.
He said the current version of the amendment could see employees working for 12 consecutive days, which would leave them even more stressed and overworked than they are now.
What really matters is ensuring “harmony between labor and management” and a “win-win situation,” Wu said, adding that the amendment should favor neither side.
Under the draft amendment, which is to be jointly reviewed by the legislature’s Economics Committee and Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee, the ceiling on the number of consecutive working days would be raised from six to 12 days.
It would also allow industries to cut the minimum rest time between shifts from 11 hours to eight hours after reaching an agreement in labor-management negotiations.
The legislation was drafted amid continued protests from businesses against an amendment passed by the government in December last year that introduced a contentious five-day workweek with “one fixed day off and one flexible rest day.”
The system ensures that workers are given at least one day off after every six days of work and requires employers to pay staff higher salaries for overtime.
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