The Cabinet yesterday passed a draft amendment that would allow five types of public servants to form “special associations” amid calls to allow unionization following a deadly fire last month.
The amendment would allow firefighters to form separate groups from police as current law requires.
The amendment, if passed, would allow five types of public servants — judicial officials, accountants, customs officers, police and medical personnel — to form such associations.
Photo courtesy of the Executive Yuan
According to the amendment, the associations would fall under the same law’s authority.
The Ministry of Civil Service would be responsible for reviewing and approving applications for the formation of special associations if there seems to be a discrepancy between the actual work being conducted and the professional nature of the job.
For example, firefighters and police officers both observe the Police Personnel Management Act (警察人員人事條例), even though their professions are different, Directorate-General of Personnel Administration General Planning Division Director Chou Wei-ting (周威廷) said.
The amendment also states that the formation of special agency-specific associations at Category 3 government agencies would require a minimum of 200 members, while special associations for the five types of public servants would need at least 400.
The number of people required to form special agency-specific associations under the central government and in municipalities would also be reduced from 800 to 400.
As for criticism that the threshold was too high, Chou said that public servants eligible to form special associations numbered 3,800 or above, adding that firefighters had an even higher headcount nationwide.
Chou said that the agency set a threshold to ensure that the groups would be proportionate enough to represent their vocation’s collective views while reasonably relaxing restrictions.
The amendment would allow special associations to make suggestions or attend committees, bodies or meetings, as long as the issues discussed pertain to the interest of its members.
It would also set standards on performance evaluations, and special associations could negotiate with local authorities regarding training, further education, and assistance for employee mental and physical health.
Negotiations would see certain constraints imposed, preventing the government from holding endless meetings, Chou said, adding that other measures are being introduced to ensure that the special associations could uphold the rights of their members.
Separately, Executive Yuan spokesman Lin Tzu-lun (林子倫) quoted Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) as saying that the amendment was introduced in response to labor trends and demands, and the government hoped that the introduction of special associations would maintain amity between the government and public servants.
Additional reporting by CNA
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