Back to list

Anti-poverty protesters demonstrate, vow more action on Labor Day

2012/04/25 18:24:12

Taipei, April 25 (CNA) Labor rights activists protested Wednesday outside the Council of Labor Affairs against stagnant salaries and rising living costs and announced that they will hold a larger-scale rally May 1, Labor Day.

The activists staged a skit in which a hapless citizen was shot in the heart by numerous black-and-white arrows, each representing a commodity whose price has gone up, and had a gas pump nozzle aimed at his head.

They used the skit to symbolize that the increased cost of living is making it difficult for regular individuals to survive.

Luo Mei-wen, head of the Labor Rights Association, said the labor groups are asking for a wage rise, gender equality in wages, and an end to the practice of using day laborers and contract workers.

The activists also want more workplace checks carried out by the government, more social housing units, higher taxes on the rich and more public daycare centers for their children.

In addition, they called on the government to work harder to prevent the broadly defined "system of job responsibility" being abused by employers. The system, under which employees are assigned tasks to complete, no matter how long the work takes, is considered by the public to be the culprit behind some of the alleged deaths from overwork in Taiwan.

The group also urged the government to abolish Article 84-1 of the Labor Standards Act. The article stipulates that once the employers reach an agreement with their employees and report the case to supervisory agencies, they can be exempt from articles 30, 32, 36, 37 and 49 under the act.

The articles regulate the maximum number of working hours, the minimum number of weekly days off, and maximum overtime for employees, and stipulate additional safety measures that should be provided to female workers during the 10 p.m.-6 a.m. period.

More than 1,000 workers will take to the streets May 1 in Zhongzheng District in Taipei, the activists said, adding that the march will be preceded two days earlier by a protest that will take place in New Taipei's Banciao District.

(By Zoe Wei and Jamie Wang)