Taiwan will have the second-highest working hours in the world if the legislature fails to reinstate seven national holidays, which would defeat the purpose of the legislation to shorten work hours, the Taiwan Higher Education Union said yesterday.
Taiwan ranks third in working hours worldwide, after Mexico and Costa Rica, the union said, citing its own study.
The Ministry of Labor has proposed a bill that would give workers one fixed day off and one flexible rest day (一例一休), while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is promoting two fixed days off per week (兩例).
However, if the seven national holidays are not reinstated, Taiwan will have longer working hours than Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states and the second-longest working hours worldwide whichever bill is passed, the union said.
South Korea and Chile, whose development level is comparable with Taiwan’s, have 30 days off per year, compared with Taiwan’s 26 days, indicating that Taiwanese do not have an excess of holidays as the government has claimed, union director Lin Po-yi (林柏儀) said.
He said that many among the top 10 OECD member states — including Austria, France, Iceland, Sweden and the UK — have a higher GDP per capita than Taiwan, which he said debunks the government’s “terrorizing” rhetoric that granting people the seven holidays would hurt the nation’s economy and competitiveness.
Lin said Taiwan’s economic development emulates that of several OECD members, but the government has downplayed the severity of the dire situations Taiwanese workers face by distributing skewed information.
Given the nation’s long working hours and stagnant wages, the bill proposed by the ministry must not be passed, or Taiwan risks becoming an “overworked island,” he said.
Union secretary-general Chen Cheng-liang (陳政亮) said denying workers the seven holidays would result in longer working hours and thus be counterproductive to the aim of reducing working hours.
Chen added that no other country cancels national holidays while trying to reduce working hours.
Taiwan has 2,134 work hours a year, while OECD member states have an average of 1,771 hours, which means Taiwanese work about 45 more eight-hour days than their OECD counterparts, he said.
Union researcher Chen Po-chien (陳柏謙) said that from the previous KMT administration to the current Democratic Progressive Party government, one recurring remark by officials is that the seven holidays cannot be justified, as some historic figures or events are no longer worth commemorating.
However, the significance of holidays should not override workers’ need for rest, he said, citing Japan as an example, which in 1996 introduced its Marine Day and this year promulgated the “Day of the Mountains” as national holidays.
Lin said that unions would go on strike if the “ill-conceived” bill is passed.
AGGRESSION: China’s latest intrusions set a new benchmark for its ‘gray zone’ tactics and possibly a new pattern that it would attempt to normalize, a researcher said China’s latest military exercises represent a new challenge to Taiwan’s legal authority to demarcate its borders in the Taiwan Strait, a defense expert said, adding that the fleets in the latest exercises were likely the most powerful the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ever assembled. The PLA conducted military exercises from Sunday last week to 6am on Friday, which encompassed large swathes of the western Pacific, including the Taiwan Strait and waters off the Philippines and Guam, National Policy Foundation associate research fellow Chieh Chung (揭仲) said on Friday. The Ministry of National Defense said that it detected 70 warship and 162 aircraft
DOMESTIC MARKET: To protect the livelihoods of local egg farmers, the government adopted a new method for releasing imported eggs, the agriculture minister said More than 54 million imported eggs will be disposed, as their expiration date has passed, Minister of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said yesterday. Chen made the remarks at a news conference in Taipei, explaining the flow of imported eggs following recent controversies regarding the products. The ministry introduced a special egg import program to address a nationwide egg shortage earlier this year. However, controversies have risen in recent weeks. These included an accusation that the government helped some egg importing companies over others, eggs imported from Brazil that had an incorrect expiration date, and egg shipments from Brazil that were found
PACIFIC OCEAN: Defense experts have warned that the ‘Shandong,’ China’s second largest aircraft carrier, poses a serious threat to eastern Taiwan’s defenses The drills conducted by the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong in the Western Pacific last week were more aimed at showcasing China’s military capabilities to the US rather than toward Taiwan, a Taiwanese defense expert said yesterday. Lin Yin-yu (林穎佑), an assistant professor at Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies, said the drills which involved dozens of warplanes sought to test China’s anti-access and area denial capabilities should the US and its allies attempt to interfere in a cross-strait conflict. Lin said that the latest Chinese drills coincided with a joint maritime exercise conducted by the US, South Korea
Thousands of bottles of Sriracha have been returned or destroyed after the discovery of excessive sulfur dioxide, a bleaching agent, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Tuesday. About 12,600 bottles totaling 9,991.8kg of the hot sauce imported from the US by Emporium Corp (河洛企業) were flagged at the border for containing illegal levels of sulfur dioxide, the FDA said in its regular border inspection announcement. Inspectors discovered 0.5g per kilogram of the common bleaching agent and preservative, higher than the 0.03g permitted, it said. As it is the first time within six months the product has been flagged, Sriracha products from