The Taiwan Motor Transport Company Union (台灣汽車客運業產業工會) yesterday said it would sue the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) if it shielded Taoyuan Bus Co for allegedly undermining a system to prevent overworking drivers.
The union alleged that the company had breached the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) in requiring drivers to evade a DGH monitoring system.
To monitor working hours, the agency requires drivers to insert a thumb drive into a system when they begin a shift, the union said.
The drive records their working hours and sends an alert to the agency whenever a driver exceeds their maximum hours, it said.
To evade this mechanism, Taoyuan Bus allegedly requires its drivers to carry two thumb drives, so that as long as they replace one with the other before it finishes recording their shifts, it can prevent alerts from being sent to the DGH, the union said.
Some drivers allegedly worked 17 hours per day for 15 days, the union said.
“Everybody knows how bus companies have been skirting work hour rules, but it seems that the DGH is not interested in investigating the infractions,” the union said.
“We have been informed that Taoyuan Bus has been receiving tip-offs about DGH’s unannounced inspections, which gives it time to make its drivers hide the second thumb drive,” it said.
The directorate must clarify whether it has been protecting Taoyuan Bus or whether the company has been deceiving the agency, or the union would file a lawsuit against the DGH, the union said.
The Taoyuan Office of Labor Inspection is about 500m from Taoyuan Bus, but has not meted out any punishments against the company since a complaint was filed nine days ago, the union said.
A 62-year-old driver who last week failed to stop at a red light and hit a woman had reportedly driven for nine hours straight, it said, calling on the government to crack down on overworking, which puts pedestrians in danger.
The agency said it has launched an investigation into the complaint that the bus company had made its drivers use two thumb drives during one shift, and it yesterday launched two inspections at Taoyuan Bus’ premises.
Not giving drivers enough rest between two workdays is punishable by a fine of NT$9,000 to NT$90,000 and could result in an employer’s operating license being suspended for one to three months or revoked, or having the license plates of all of its vehicles revoked, it said.
Other infractions such as not giving drivers at least one fixed day off in a workweek or overworking them would be punishable under the act, it said.
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