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Labor rights 'sports game' to kick off on Labor Day

2012/04/29 17:49:35

Taipei, April 29 (CNA) A Labor Day protest held in the form of a sports game will kick off in Taipei on May 1 to call attention to issues such as higher living costs, low wages and long working hours, labor rights groups said Sunday.

The demonstration, to be held in front of the Presidential Office, demands that the government respond to various issues of concern to Taiwan's laborers, said Son Yu-lian, secretary-general of the Taiwan Labor Front.

Those concerns include pushing for tax reforms, eliminating the national debt, raising minimum wages, lowering housing prices, setting up long-term care systems and improving public child care policies, according to labor officials.

The government should also ensure better rights and job opportunities for contract workers, young workers and foreign caretakers, while eliminating unequal pay between men and women, they said.

"The inequalities and angry voices of the laborers have to be heard on Labor Day," said Wang Rung-chang of the Alliance for Fair Tax Reform, calling on workers to unite on Labor Day.

The "sports game" will feature at least eight activities, including a high jump event that symbolizes rising living costs, a weightlifting event to represent heavy housing debt burdens, and a running event that symbolizes chasing after better salaries, said Son.

There will also be a shot put competition between "corporations" with small balls and "laborers" with large balls to show the unfair tax system, he said.

In addition, an archery event will be held where competitors will shoot arrows after spinning around many times to symbolize doctors tending to patients after long hours of work, he said.

"We guarantee that the games will not be fair and the laborers will lose at the starting line," said Son.

He added that a person dressed as President Ma Ying-jeou will carry a torch while running onto the field to open the games and a five-by-five-meter Facebook wall representing Ma's Facebook page will be set up at the demonstration site.

Son said protesters would be able to write one Chinese character that best represents what they want to tell Ma on paper supplied by the organizers to be stuck on the wall that day.

Officials estimated that over 20 groups and 1,000 individuals would participate in the event this year and vowed more action if Ma failed to respond to their demands by May 20, when Ma will be sworn in for his second term.

(By Christie Chen)