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Taiwan to replace its labor minister with a deputy: source

2018/02/22 23:05:38

Lin Mei-chu (林美珠)/CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 22 (CNA) Labor Minister Lin Mei-chu (林美珠) has tendered her resignation due to health reasons and she is likely to be replaced by Deputy Labor Minister Su Li-chiung (蘇麗瓊), a person with knowledge of the matter told CNA Thursday amid talks of a Cabinet reshuffle.

The source said Lin's resignation will be approved and Su will likely take over as the new labor minister.

A Cabinet reshuffle is likely to be announced Friday.

Since early this year, local media have speculated that Lin will resign from her position after passage of controversial labor law amendments, but the ministry had denied such reports at the time.

After assuming office on Feb. 8 last year, Lin was immediately faced with the political hot potato of a newly revised Labor Standards Act that offered more protection to workers but faced backlashes from employers.

Under the amendment, employees cannot be asked to work for more than six days in a row and must have a rest period of at least 11 hours between shifts.

After Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) took office in September last year, his Cabinet proposed another revision to the Labor Standards Act, which Lai said makes work rules more flexible for both employers and employees.

Under that amendment, employees can be asked to work 12 days in a row and work shifts with only eight hours of rest in between.

The newly amended law, which will take effect on March 1, sparked heated protests by labor groups and students, who accused the government of going back on its promise to improve labor conditions in the country.

"There are no law amendments that would satisfy everyone 100 percent," Minister Lin said at the time, adding that the law revision was aimed at seeking the "greatest common divisor."

Her replacement, Su, who has a Ph.D. in social work from Tunghai University, had served as deputy commissioner of the Taipei City Department of Social Welfare, head of Kaohsiung City's Civil Affairs Bureau and Social Affairs Bureau, and deputy head of the former Council of Labor Affairs (now Ministry of Labor).

Su had also served as secretary-general of the Taipei City government and deputy secretary-general of the Kaohsiung City government.

(By Ku Chuan and Christie Chen)