Sun, Sep 02, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Media covering Tsai visit violated labor rules: union

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Most media operators did not obey labor law when dispatching reporters to cover President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) overseas trip last month, two labor unions said yesterday, calling on authorities to probe whether their operations were within the law.

After the newly amended Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) took effect on March 1, the Ministry of Labor on Aug. 6 announced a second list of industries that can be exempted under Article 36, which stipulates that employees must have “one fixed day off and one flexible rest day” every seven days.

The named industries include the media, where employers are allowed to adjust reporters’ flexible rest days after obtaining consent from unions.

Managers of firms without unions should meet with employees’ representatives before adjusting their work hours, the article stipulates.

Eighteen media outlets dispatched 30 reporters to cover Tsai’s nine-day overseas visit last month, and judging from Tsai’s itinerary, they had to work more than 12 hours per day for at least seven consecutive days, Taipei City Confederation of Trade Unions executive director Chen Shu-lun (陳淑綸) told a news conference held to mark Journalists’ Day.

Among them, only the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), United Daily News and NextTV obtained consent from their unions in advance, she said.

Chen called on the ministry to research whether the media operators offered the required rest days and overtime pay to reporters covering Tsai’s trip, as well as the Asian Games in Jakarta, which end today.

The Taiwan Media Workers Union is not opposed to relaxing work hour regulations for journalists, but authorities should supervise the firms, union chairman Cheng Yi-ping (鄭一平) said.

Deputy Minister of Labor Shih Keh-her (施克和) said the labor ministry would soon probe the work arrangements of the media outlets and punish those that are found to have broken labor laws.

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