Employees strike after golf club fires union members

CONSEQUENCES::The union last year negotiated with the club to make it pay workers overtime, but 15 of its members were fired after requesting a 3 percent raise

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Jan 21, 2018 - Page 3

About 40 employees of the Miramar Golf Country Club in New Taipei City’s Linkou District (林口) on Friday morning went on strike after 15 union members were suddenly fired, forcing the club to shut down for two days.

A day after the passage of controversial amendments to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), the country club fired 15 union members and three other employees.

The company’s union had been urging it to raise salaries and start paying year-end bonuses.

The country club last year hosted the Swinging Skirts LPGA Championship.

A club membership costs millions of New Taiwan dollars, so the club must be able to meet the union’s demands, the Miramar Golf Country Club Union said.

Founded in 2016, the union last year managed to make the company pay workers overtime, it said, adding that the company is now attempting to “wipe out” the union by firing members.

On Monday, the company’s upper management and union members negotiated at a meeting held by the New Taipei City Department of Labor.

The union demanded that the company rehire the fired employees, raise employees’ salaries by 3 percent, provide year-end bonuses amounting to 1.5 times workers’ monthly salary and not use contractors unless agreed upon with the union.

The company rejected all the requests on the grounds that it has been making financial losses.

After the negotiations failed, the union held a meeting, at which 26 of its 37 members voted in favor of staging a strike, union president Huang Cheng-wen (黃正文) said.

The union began the strike at 4am on Friday and set up picket lines at entrances to the country club, preventing customers, employers and employees from entering.

Club vice president Sun Shih-hsung (孫世雄) questioned the legality of the strike, saying that it prevented more than 100 employees from entering the club and forced it to shut down.

However, the labor department said that the strike was legal.

People should respect and sympathize with workers, the department added.

Article 54 of the Act for Settlement of Labor-Management Disputes (勞資爭議處理法) says that a strike is legal if more than half of union members voted to support it.

Additional reporting by Yeh Kuan-yu