Wed, Apr 25, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Transport firm has bad record: NPP

ACCOUNTABILITY:One legislator said that if company owners are not held responsible, they would continue to overwork their employees and cause more crashes

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Taoist priests yesterday lead victims’ relatives in a ceremony at the scene of a crash that killed two police officers and a truck driver on Sun Yat-sen Freeway in Tainan on Monday.

Photo: Wang Han-ping, Taipei Times

A truck involved in a crash that killed three people in Tainan on Monday belongs to a transport company that frequently overworks its drivers and causes road casualties, the New Power Party (NPP) caucus said yesterday.

Two police officers, Kuo Chen-hsiung (郭振雄) and Yeh Chia-hao (葉家豪), and a truck driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) were killed in the rear-end collision on Sun Yat-sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1).

The truck driver responsible for the accident, surnamed Lu (陸), admitted to having dozed off due to fatigue.

“While the driver has been released by the Tainan District Prosecutors’ Office on bail of NT$100,000 [US$3,377], should his boss not also be held responsible?” NPP caucus convener Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) told a news conference at the caucus’ office in Taipei.

Since 2013, the company Lu works for, Jingshan Transport, has been fined five times by the Taoyuan Office of Labor Inspection for contraventions of labor regulations, mostly for making employees work past legal work hour limits, Hsu said.

A look at the labor records of Lu Yen-ching (盧延景), who owns Jingshan and other transport companies, showed that he has been fined by the office 12 times over the past three years, Hsu added.

Jingshan and its subsidiaries not only have poor labor records, but also numerous traffic violations and fatal car accidents, NPP Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said.

“The group is a potential threat to the nation’s road safety. Its record of road casualties in the past couple of years is shocking,” Huang said, adding that it is responsible for at least three fatal car incidents since 2016.

“The Ministry of Transportation and Communications must not restrict its investigations to the driver,” he said.

If company owners are not held responsible, they will continue to overwork their employees and cause more traffic accidents, he added.

“The Ministry of Labor [last month] relaxed the rules on maximum consecutive work days for the transportation industry. Should it continue to enforce that policy now that an accident like this has happened?” Hsu asked.

Inspections of the company found that Lu had worked 22 consecutive days and had less than 11 hours of rest between shifts, the labor ministry said yesterday.

He was also found to have worked more than 12 hours of overtime on one day and 46 hours in one month, it said.

Jingshan is to be fined NT$3 million for contravening the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), it added.

The labor ministry said that over the past three years it has carried out four labor inspections at Jingshan and fined it a total of NT$360,000 for six breaches of labor laws, adding that it has formed a task force responsible for labor inspections at transport companies to better protect the rights of workers in the industry and to improve road safety.

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