The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) would not change its shift system for now, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said yesterday, after more than 200 of the agency’s staff threatened to strike during the Tomb Sweeping Day long weekend from April 2 to 5.
The employees, all of whom are members of the Taiwan Railway Labor Union in Yilan, said they opposed the TRA’s plan to change from a two-shift system (day shift and night shift) to a three-shift system (day shift, evening shift and night shift).
The total work hours under the proposed new system would remain about the same, but instead of being on duty 18 times per month, they would be required to be on duty 22 to 23 times per month, they said.
Meanwhile, their average overtime pay would drop by NT$11,000 per month, they said, adding that the switch between evening and night shifts would also create problems for employees who need to commute to work.
“We are aware of the workers’ concerns. The agreement between the agency and the labor union clearly states how the change in the shift system should proceed. Union members can be assured that there will not be any change in the shift system before next year,” Lin said.
“However, we are talking about transporting travelers during the Tomb Sweeping holiday. We hope that our friends at the union understand this and work with the government to enforce the transport plan for the holiday,” he said.
Changing the shift system is necessary, as the agency has recruited nearly 3,000 new employees in the past few years, he said.
“The agency will continue to communicate with the union to make sure the workers are not overworked and are paid reasonably,” he added.
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