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Labor groups protest proposed labor law revisions with hunger strike

2017/11/20 19:01:51

Taipei, Nov. 20 (CNA) Labor groups in Taiwan staged a rally outside the Ministry of Labor (MOL) on Monday, where they demanded the resignation of Minister of Labor Lin Mei-chu (林美珠) as well as protested the Cabinet's proposed changes to the labor law.

According to Chen Ming-chen (陳姳臻) from Yilan County Confederation of Trade Unions, labor groups are asking for the immediate resignation of Minister Lin for proposed changes to the controversial labor law amendments and the inability of the Ministry of Labor's adjudication committee to protect workers' rights.

Furthermore, labor groups are asking the MOL to resume talks with them to discuss working hours as stipulated in the proposed amendments and reforms to the adjudication committee which is responsible for investigating potential labor law violations.

As it stands, the Cabinet's proposed amendments to the Labor Standards Act allow employees to work 12 days in a row once they take a mandatory day off either side of the 12-day period.

Lastly, labor groups want the adjudication committee to recruit more members and proactively investigate labor law infringements.

To put pressure on the ministry, leaders of certain labor groups have announced that they will be staging a hunger strike, with Lin Chia-wei (林佳瑋), secretary general of the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union committed to a non-stop 269-hour hunger strike while other leaders will take turns fasting.

According to Chen, the labor groups will take other actions if the MOL does not respond to their demands.

Officials from the ministry have since said they respect the labor groups' opinions, but have yet to provide a concrete follow-up plan.

The Cabinet's proposed amendments to the labor law have drawn as much criticism as the original amendments to the labor law which were passed late last year.

The Migrants Empowerment Network in Taiwan (MENT) protested in front of the Legislative Yuan on Monday for the same purpose as protesters outside the MOL.

MENT noted that the proposed amendments will have the greatest impact on blue-collar and migrant workers, depriving them of even more of their rights.

(By Yu Hsiao-han and Kuan-lin Liu)
Enditem/AW