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New Taipei responds to Vietnamese worker protest over overcrowding

2018/04/24 20:53:05

Photo courtesy of New Taipei Department of Labor Affairs

Taipei, April 24 (CNA) New Taipei labor officials said Tuesday they have inspected a laborers' dormitory and looked into other issues after more than 100 Vietnamese workers in Xizhi took to the streets a day earlier to protest that their local employer is forcing more than 360 foreign laborers to live in a space intended for 100.

The workers were complaining that the living space they have been given is too crowded and their employer, a well known optics products company, is also charging them NT$400 (US$13.5) per month for air conditioning.

Liao Wu-hui (廖武輝), an official with the city's Labor Affairs Department, said after an on-site investigation, they had confirmed 362 foreign workers -- 334 Vietnamese and 28 Indonesians -- were living in a space less than the legally required 3.2 square meters per person.

The labor officials also found that the company deducts NT$3,940 from foreign workers' monthly salaries, rather than the NT$2,500 listed in their contracts, as a boarding fee. On that basis, the officials suspect the company is not paying the employees a full salary.

Liao said the department has instructed the company and the labor broker to immediately address the workers' complaints and promised to keep a close eye on the talks to ensure the workers' rights are protected.

Hsu Hsiu-neng (許秀能), director of the department, said it is the duty of the employer to provide a good living environment for its workers. If no improvements are made within a set time period, she said the department will issue a fine ranging from NT$60,000-NT$300,000 and could even cancel the company's permit to employ foreign workers.

(By Wang Hung-kuo and S.C. Chang)
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