Thu, Jan 25, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Golf club union demands worker status for caddies

INTERVENTION:The Ministry of Labor should launch an investigation and reclassify the caddies as employees, as the work they perform entails it, a union member said

By Yeh Kuan-yu and Lee Ya-wen  /  Staff reporters

Employees of the Miramar Golf Country Club in New Taipei City’s Linkou District yesterday hold banners and signs during a protest outside New Taipei City Hall against the club’s practice of keeping its caddies as “contract employees” to avoid having to provide them with labor insurance and pensions.

Photo: Yeh Kuan-yu, Taipei Times

About a dozen members of the Miramar Golf Country Club union and other unions yesterday accused the club of deliberately misclassifying its caddies as contract employees to avoid paying labor insurance and pensions.

The caddies take orders from their employers and work according to their assigned schedules, which should qualify them as employees, Taoyuan Confederation of Trade Unions secretary Lee Yi-ching (李怡靜) told a news conference outside the Ministry of Labor.

The ministry should launch an investigation and reclassify the caddies, she said, adding that the caddies’ labor rights have long been ignored because the labor law offers them little protection.

The New Taipei City Department of Labor in October last year reclassified the caddies at the Hsing-fu Golf Club as employees after workers reported the misclassification to the government, she added.

The ministry would look into the matter and ask the local government to carry out an investigation when it receives the report, a ministry representative said.

About the same time the union members were protesting outside the ministry, a group of about 50 non-union Miramar workers gathered outside the New Taipei City Government building to demand that it help end a strike at the country club that began on Friday.

Members of the self-help group held up placards that read “I want to work” and shouted that they need money to have a good Lunar New Year holiday.

Head of the self-help group, Lin Mei-chu (林美珠), said that the city government has been biased toward the union and ignored the rights of other workers.

She questioned the legality of the strike and requested that the New Taipei City Department of Labor remove a picket line outside the club and allow other employees to work.

A member of the self-help group, Huang Yi-liang (黃義樑), said that he does not support the union’s demand of a salary hike and year-end bonuses, but hopes the club and the union would resume negotiations and reach an agreement soon, as that would be ideal for everyone.

The union has launched the strike to demand that the club rehire 18 fired employees, raise salaries by 3 percent, provide year-end bonuses amounting to 1.5 times monthly salary and not use contract employees unless agreed by the union.

Department of Labor official Lai Yen-heng (賴彥亨) said that the strike is legal and that people should respect the picket line.

Hopefully, employers and employees at the club can soon resume negotiations and reach an agreement, he said.

Additional reporting by Ann Maxon

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