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Rail services at Taipei Station restored after protests (update)

2018/01/08 22:39:21

Taipei, Jan. 8 (CNA) Train services at the Taipei Railway Station returned to normal Monday night after being disrupted by a protest by labor groups earlier that evening.

The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) ordered a suspension of both northbound and southbound trains at the station at 6:55 p.m. when some of the protesters laid down on the tracks.

The 10 protesters lying on the tracks were completely removed by police at around 7:42 p.m., and rail services returned to normal at around 8 p.m., the TRA said.

According to the TRA, a total of 19 trains with 11,250 passengers were affected by the suspension of service.

The protesters are particularly upset by proposed changes to the Labor Standards Act that would allow employers to force their employees to work 12 days in a row, as opposed to a maximum of six days in a row at present, and reduce the rest time between shifts from 11 hours to eight.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus whip Ho Hsin-chun (何欣純) urged protesting labor groups not to hurt themselves by lying on the trucks to express their disagreement with the Labor Standards Act revisions.

Ho said negotiations on the labor law revision are still underway, and she expected the DPP and opposition parties to find a consensus on the amendments.

Local media reported Monday, however, that the DPP, which has a large majority in the Legislative Yuan, was intent on passing the revisions as early as Wednesday.

Opposition Kuomintang lawmaker Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) said the amendments to the work rules will only place a heavier burden on workers, and she called for the DPP to reconsider the move.

New Power Party (NPP) lawmaker Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) urged the Executive Yuan to heed the demands of labor groups, saying the protesting workers at the Taipei station showed their disappointment with the government.

Five NPP lawmakers, including Huang, staged a limited hunger strike at 6 p.m. Friday in wet, chilly weather in front of the Presidential Office before being removed by police early Monday morning.

Lawmaker Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) of the opposition People First Party said more discussion of the revisions are needed and that the DPP should not set a timetable for passage of the measures.

(By Wang Shu-fen, Wen Kuei-hsiang, Huang Shu-min and Tsai Chia-ling and Frances Huang)

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