A coalition of labor rights groups yesterday marched in Taipei, demanding that the three presidential candidates respond to their appeals, which include increasing the minimum wage and retirement pay, and abolishing the broker system for migrant workers.
They gathered at noon in front of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) headquarters, then marched to the People First Party’s (PFP) headquarters, the re-election campaign headquarters of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and finally to the Legislative Yuan.
Labor policies were not listed as priorities of the three presidential candidates during their last policy program presentation, while legislator-at-large candidates advocating labor rights also rank low on parties’ lists, said coalition spokesman Hung Ching-fu (洪清福), who is also the chairman of the New Taipei City Confederation of Trade Unions.
Photo: Chiang Ying-ying, AP
The coalition last month sent letters to the three presidential candidates, asking them to respond to their appeals.
They announced their responses yesterday.
They asked whether the candidates, if elected, would ask businesses to pay more tax to establish a basic workers’ pension system, and whether they would increase the ratio of firms’ contributions to employees’ pensions from 6 percent to 9 percent of salaries.
The candidates were also asked whether they would increase official days off from 116 days to 123 days a year; whether they would propose a timetable for increasing the minimum wage from NT$23,800 to NT$30,000; whether they would lower the threshold required to form a workers’ union from 30 to 10 members, or half of a firm’s total employees; whether they would promote legislation that bans government agencies or private firms from hiring temporary workers for long-term jobs; and whether they would abolish the private broker system for migrant workers and introduce migrant workers through government-to-government agreements.
They also required the next government to reach an agreement with former highway toll collectors on severance pay, as some lost their jobs after the highway toll system became electronic in 2013.
Tsai and Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the KMT’s presidential candidate, replied, but did not address the appeals directly, while PFP presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) did not reply, the coalition said.
Speaking in front of Tsai’s re-election campaign headquarters, Former Freeway Toll Collectors ‘Self-Help Organization president Sun Hsiu-luan (孫秀鑾) vowed to protest against Tsai wherever the president goes, as she failed to realize an agreement reached with the group in 2016.
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