Wed, Apr 25, 2018 - Page 4 News List

May Day march to focus on workers’ rights, wage raises

Staff writer, with CNA

The May 1 Action Alliance on Monday announced that an appeal for a referendum on workers’ rights and wage increases are to be the focus of the Workers’ Day march in Taipei on Tuesday next week.

The annual march is to begin on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building and proceed to the Legislative Yuan a few blocks away, said the alliance, which is comprised of trade unions.

The focus of this year’s event is to be “opposition to overwork and demanding a referendum on higher wages and workers’ rights,” it said.

The alliance opposes this year’s revisions to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), which it has criticized as “backsliding” on workers’ rights.

The alliance is proposing holding a referendum so the “vicious revisions” can be overturned.

Labor Rights Referendum Alliance member Hsieh Yi-hung (謝毅弘) said efforts are being made to solicit endorsement of the proposed referendum, which would also call for a new law that regulates national holidays and returns the seven holidays that were canceled as part of the amended law.

The alliance hopes that 300,000 signatures backing the referendum can be collected before the end of August so that the referendum can be held at the same time as the nine-in-one local elections on Nov. 24, Hsieh said.

Calling for the monthly minimum wage to be raised from NT$22,000 to NT$28,000 over the next three years, Taiwan Higher Education Union researcher Chen Po-chien (陳柏謙) said that the nation experienced accumulated economic growth of more than 20 percent from 2007 to 2016.

During that period, the consumer price index rose 9.1 percent, but the earnings of private-sector workers only grew 8.3 percent.

“Taiwanese workers should be given a 10 percent wage increase every year over the next three years,” Chen said. “This is no more than a basic requirement.”

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