Tue, Nov 21, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet asks labor deputy head to stay

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Several migrant workers’ rights groups yesterday protest the government’s proposed labor law reform bill outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

The Cabinet has asked Deputy Minister of Labor Liao Huei-fang (廖蕙芳) to reconsider her resignation after the former labor rights activist reportedly quit due to conflicts with the Ministry of Labor over a draft amendment to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法).

Liao on Sunday announced her resignation on Facebook, writing that she had on Nov. 13 tendered her resignation to Minister of Labor Lin Mei-chu (林美珠) and it was being processed.

A former Taiwan Labour Front director-general, Liao’s resignation has been interpreted as the result of irreconcilable differences between her beliefs and the draft labor law amendment, which has been criticized by labor groups for seeking to raise the maximum number of consecutive working days, lower the minimum rest time between shifts and conditionally raise the limit on monthly overtime hours.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said that he had asked Lin to retain Liao.

Liao had several times asked to resign, but former premier Lin Chuan (林全) had persuaded her to stay, Lai said.

Liao’s performance has been outstanding, Lai said, calling on her to reconsider her resignation.

Lin Mei-chu during a legislative committee meeting rejected allegations that Liao’s resignation was due to her dissatisfaction with the draft amendment.

The resignation is purely a career decision and she had proposed to resign as early as Sept. 8 following a Cabinet reshuffle, Lin Mei-chu said, adding that she had been trying to retain Liao.

Meanwhile, Lai reiterated the purposes of the draft amendment, saying it would create a work environment that protects labor rights while ensuring flexibility for businesses.

“A good relationship between labor and industry cannot be founded on confrontation, nor is it a zero-sum game, but is instead based on mutual cooperation,” Lai said.

The draft amendment ensures flexibility on overtime, workday and shift arrangements, and annual leave, while keeping four basic labor protections intact, which are total work hours, two days off every week, total overtime hours and the overtime rate, he said.

The draft amendment “creates a win-win situation” for workers and businesses, Lai said, calling on the Legislative Yuan to support the draft, which he said would be key to economic development.

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