Former campaigner says Ko exploited part-time workers

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Aug 20, 2018 - Page 3

Liu Kun-li (劉坤鱧), a former campaigner for Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲), on Saturday evening accused Ko of exploiting 14 part-time employees of his 2014 campaign.

Liu said on Facebook that he picked 14 young people who applied online for part-time functions from Sept 1, 2014, and they worked an average of over 10 hours per day at an hourly wage of NT$115 (US$3.70 at the current exchange rate), but were not enrolled in labor insurance.

The government that month announced it would raise the minimum hourly wage to NT$120 in 2015, so he asked Chiu Yu-kai (邱昱凱), his superior at the campaign office, to increase the 14 employees’ wages immediately, but Chiu replied that Ko had a low budget and wished to keep the wages unchanged.

Chiu later that month proposed to change the 14 employees’ hourly wages into a fixed monthly salary of NT$33,000, because they would receive more than that for the hours they worked based on the hourly wage, Liu said.

When Ko announced that he would pay his campaign staff one month of salary as severance after the elections, the 14 were not on the list, Liu said, adding that Chiu said it was because they were “part-time workers.”

After negotiations with Chiu, the office agreed to pay the 14 one month’s salary as severance pay, Liu said, adding that he heard that Ko complained that Liu had gone too far and cost him an additional NT$2 million.

The whole experience made him not want to help Ko with his re-election campaign, Liu said.

Ko yesterday said that he did not remember the details of what happened four years ago, but he could not recall chiding Liu for spending an extra NT$2 million.

All the data can be found in the campaign’s public accounts, Ko said, adding that Liu might have a darker purpose in choosing to talk about the case at this time.

The campaign staff suddenly increased from about 30 people to 120 people at the time, raising personnel costs from about NT$1 million to more than NT$5 million per month, Chiu said on Facebook yesterday.

Various staff members were hired under different titles or ad hoc programs at the time, so labor insurance enrollment was taken care off according to people’s individual wishes, Chiu said.

The decisions about the severance pay were made by campaign chief financial officer Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), as Chiu was only in charge of payment, he said.