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Proposed cut in work hours gaining support from unions

2011/02/21 20:28:14

Taipei, Feb. 21 (CNA) A Jan. 10 proposal by a ruling Kuomintanglawmaker to cut the regular number of work hours from 84 per twoweeks to 80 has gained support from trade unions, a union officialsaid Monday.

"Taiwan's work hours are one of the longest in the world, andreducing the number of hours for workers is a world trend, " saidHsieh Chuang-chih, secretary-general of the Taiwan Confederation ofTrade Unions.

"Taiwan should not try to cement its competitiveness at the costof `super-long work hours,'" said Hsieh.

Quoting the results of a survey showing that nearly 60 percent ofthe manufacturing and service industries have adopted a five-dayweekly workday system, Hsieh called on the entire private sector toadopt the system, to allow employees to better arrange their leisuretime.

"How can the leisure industry get the boost the government isseeking if only a few people have time to take holidays? " Hsiehasked.

Meanwhile, Sun Pi-hsia, director of the Department of LaborStandards under the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) , said that sinceshorter work hours are a global tread, the council has for the lastsix months listed it on the agendas of labor seminars, and willcontinue to do so in the future.

But Sun admitted that it will take time for Taiwan to thoroughlyadopt an 80-hour work hour program, given the different situations inthe country's various sectors and the length of time it takes forrelated government agencies to reach consensus.

(By Zoe Wei & Bear Lee)