The Taiwan Railway Labor Union on Thursday said it plans to strike during the Dragon Boat Festival on June 3 after negotiations with the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) on a bill to turn the rail operator into a public company failed to make headway.
The parties failed to reach an agreement on a range of issues at a meeting on Thursday with TRA Director-General Du Wei (杜微), the union said.
One of the major disagreements was how to pay the TRA’s debts after it becomes a public company, the union said.
Photo: Cheng Wei-chi, Taipei Times
All of the debt should be dealt with by the government, rather than be partly assumed by the new company, terms that should be stipulated in a draft bill that the legislature is deliberating, the union said.
Du said that the government has already reached its limit for financing the TRA’s debt.
The rail operator had NT$420.801 billion (US$14.19 billion) of debt as of the end of last year, Du said.
When the topic of turning the TRA into a public company was first raised in 2003, the government pledged to absorb all of the debt, the union said.
How can employees have faith in the government and its push to restructure the TRA if it is unable to honor its promises, the union said, adding that a petition would be launched so its members can sign up for the planned June 3 strike.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications said it expected the union to announce a Dragon Boat Festival strike.
The ministry said that it would continue to work with the union to help iron out their differences so a consensus could be reached on reorganizing the TRA.
The union last month said that it was not opposed to the restructuring plan, but was unhappy that a bill was submitted to the legislature without proper consultation with TRA workers.
It has also voiced concern over the process of turning the TRA into a public company, including fears that compensation and retirement benefits might be cut.
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