Fri, Feb 09, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Wage disputes are the most common grievance for migrant workers: agency

EMPLOYEES’ RIGHTS:The Labor Affairs Department said the increase in filed complaints has likely resulted from migrants having greater access to information

By Yeh Kuan-yu and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Migrant workers in New Taipei City last year filed 3,689 complaints against their employers, up 679 filings compared with the previous year, or an increase of 21 percent, the city’s Labor Affairs Department said on Tuesday.

Of the six special municipalities, New Taipei City has the third-highest number of migrant workers, department Director Hsieh Cheng-ta (謝政達) said.

Disputes over wages are the most common complaint, followed by terminations occurring after a contract is transferred from one employer to another and attempts by employers to control workers’ lifestyles, Hsieh said.

The increase in disputes involving migrant workers has likely resulted from their having greater access to information about their rights, he said.

The most frequent complaint involves employers who refuse to turn over wages that they were safeguarding for workers, he said, adding that alleged failures by employers to comply with overtime rules — such as not giving workers the day off on national holidays or not paying the legally required amount for overtime — were also common.

These actions contravene Article 59 of the Employment Service Act (就業服務法) and could result in fines of between NT$60,000 (US$2042) and NT$300,000, Hsieh said.

Employers should be respectful of workers’ religion and culture, he said, adding that work agencies should give employers sound advice about establishing rules that are good for labor relations and protect the lawful interests of all parties involved.

The department last year arbitrated 352 labor disputes and saw that NT$20 million in owed wages was returned to migrant workers, he said.

Migrant workers who require assistance can call the Ministry of Labor’s Workforce Development Agency via its 1955 free hotline, he said, adding that officials who speak Filipino, Indonesian, Vietnamese or Thai are available for consultation.

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