The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday rejected the possibility of working with the New Power Party (NPP) over proposed amendments to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), with DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) denouncing a sit-in protest by NPP lawmakers as an “irrational boycott” of the legislation.
Ker criticized the NPP for its “lack of sincerity” as a hunger strike launched in front of the Presidential Office Building by NPP lawmakers demanding the amendment’s withdrawal continued into its third day.
The hunger strike and a failed attempt on Friday by NPP lawmakers to occupy the legislative chamber to forestall an extraordinary legislative session were “irrational and unwarranted actions to gain the limelight,” Ker said.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
Asked about the possibility of the DPP working with the NPP over the legislation, Ker said: “There is not even room for negotiations.”
Ker, who posted online an editorial by the Chinese-language China Times criticizing the NPP’s actions and saying that the momentum of “the Sunflower movement has collapsed,” said the NPP’s demand that the amendment be retracted was improbable.
The NPP did not propose an amendment as a proper legislative strategy, but has instead engaged in disruptive strategies, he said.
“Although the NPP was vocally critical about the ‘one fixed day off and one flexible rest day’ policy during the last revision of the act [in 2015], they now say that no changes should be made,” Ker said, adding that about 60 percent of respondents to opinion polls support the idea of revising the policy.
“There is no possibility of communication and cooperation without [the NPP being] reasonable. Can mere confrontation result in cooperation? There cannot be cooperation unless [the NPP] returns to reasonable dialogue,” Ker said.
DPP caucus chief executive Liu Chao-hao (劉櫂豪) also said his party has “no communication channels” with the NPP and urged the latter to return to the negotiation table.
DPP lawmakers have since Friday been guarding the legislative chamber’s entrance to guarantee that today’s legislative session is not interrupted.
DPP lawmakers would make sure that the party’s proposed amendments are on top of the legislative agenda and would prevent opposition parties from flooding the session with motions, Liu said.
Meanwhile, Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森) commented on a Facebook post by human rights lawyer Chen Meng-hsiu (陳孟秀), who criticized what he said was a disproportionate police presence and security barriers around the NPP sit-in.
Chang asked whether party assistants were being overworked because of NPP lawmakers’ actions, and how much rest and overtime pay they would receive.
“If [NPP Executive Chairman] Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) could not [allow party employees a proper rest], many small and medium-sized enterprises could not do so either, suggesting that workplace flexibility is necessary. Otherwise, small and medium-sized enterprises, such as the NPP, cannot function or even survive,” Chang wrote.
“[We] have negotiated with the NPP for a long time. Their political strategy is to divide DPP supporters with radical policies. Further negotiations will not yield a different result,” he wrote.
All NPP assistants meet the requirements for the labor act, NPP Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said.
The NPP also gives assistants seven annual leave days, which is better than what is required by the act, Hsu said.
Police allowed only legislators’ assistants to enter the restricted area, Hsu added.
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