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Talk of the day -- Ban on dispatched workers?

2014/05/30 13:58:36

Labor groups set up banners saying that low pay is a national disgrace and use of dispatched workers is to blame in front of the Ministry of Labor on May 1.

Amid criticism that the widespread use of dispatched workers is a major cause of Taiwan's wage stagnation, Labor Minister Pan Shih-wei said Thursday that government agencies should set a good example and ban the use of such workers.

Dispatched workers describe those employed by manpower agencies and then contracted out by the agencies to organizations for varying lengths of time. They represent a source of cheap and flexible labor for employers, but critics contend that the system is being abused and the workers do not get standard benefits guaranteed by law.

Pan suggested that government agencies stop filling jobs through manpower agencies and gradually replace them with contract workers, who are protected by the Labor Standards Act.

The following are excerpts of the United Daily News' coverage of the issue:

The Ministry of Labor is promoting a law stipulating that the number of dispatched workers should not exceed 3 percent of a company or government agency's workforce. The large number of dispatched workers in government agencies, however, has become an excuse for business groups to oppose the restriction.

The Executive Yuan currently allows its affiliated agencies to use a maximum of 15,514 dispatch workers. The number of such workers totaled 10,296 people in the fourth quarter of 2013, making government agencies one of the largest users of dispatched workers.

The Council of Agriculture (COA) was the central-government agency using the most dispatched workers -- 2,754 people -- according to official statistics.

Coming in second was the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) with 2,265 people, followed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare with 978 people.

The COA said it mostly used dispatched workers to fill a shortage of field survey staff, while the MOEA said most of its dispatched workers were working at state-owned enterprises.

In response to Pan's proposal, Chang Nien-chung, deputy minister of the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration (DGPA), said it would be difficult to ban the use of dispatched workers in government agencies because of the need to reduce personnel costs.

Huai Hsu, a section chief at DGPA, said that instead of banning dispatched workers, more focus should be put on protecting the rights and benefits of these workers. (May 30, 2014)

(By Y.F. Low)

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