Labor activists yesterday rallied to protest a meeting between Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and representatives from major manufacturing and business groups, billing it as a “job interview” that indicates the “servility” of the nation’s politicians to corporations and their indifference to workers’ rights.
More than 30 protesters from the Workers’ Struggle Alliance — a coalition of labor groups, including the National Alliance for Workers of Closed Factories, the National Highway Toll Collectors’ Self-Help Association and others — protested outside the meeting at the Howard Plaza Hotel in Taipei.
“The ‘Ing clique’ gives workers phony forms, the job interview is servile,” the protesters chanted.
Workers’ Struggle member Lu Chih-hung (盧其宏) said that Tsai’s labor platform is “hollow,” and that Tsai and her party have repeatedly ignored the demands of labor groups, citing as an example the DPP’s absence from the Workers’ National Conference last month and the faltering negotiations over the presidential debate on Monday next week.
“She has no time for us, but she makes time immediately if seven business representatives want to see her,” Lu said.
In spite of being the largest opposition party in the legislature, the DPP and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have been “co-conspirators” over a biased agenda favoring big business, while retaining a “noncommittal attitude” on key labor issues, National Alliance for Workers of Closed Factories secretary-general Chen Hsiu-lian (陳秀蓮) said.
DPP Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) told the protesters that the DPP supports the legal rights of workers and that when the DPP becomes the ruling party, it would mediate between employees and employers to solve labor disputes.
“The DPP supports the five-day working week,” Lee said.
The standoff was not resolved until Lee promised to arrange a meeting between Tsai and the labor groups in two weeks’ time.
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