Train union plans to hold second strike on Dragon Boat Festival

05/05/2022 10:45 PM
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CNA photo May 1, 2022
CNA photo May 1, 2022

Taipei, May 5 (CNA) The Taiwan Railway Labor Union (TRLU) on Thursday said it plans to stage a strike during Dragon Boat Festival on June 3 as negotiations with the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) on a bill to turn the administration into a public company failed to make headway.

According to the TRLU, the parties failed to reach agreement on a range of issues during a meeting held Thursday with TRA Director-General Du Wei (杜微).

One of the major disagreements, the TRLU said, is how to pay off the TRA's debts after it becomes a public company.

The union argued that all TRA debt should be dealt with by the government, rather than be partly assumed by the new company, and that this should be stipulated in the draft bill which was recently referred to the Legislature for deliberation.

Du's response was that TRA debt financing has already reached the government's limit.

According to the TRA chief, the railway agency had accumulated NT$420.801 billion (US$14.45 billion) in debt as of the end of last year.

The union said when the topic of turning it into a public company was first brought up in 2003, the government pledged to absorb all the debt.

How can employees have faith in the government and its push to restructure the administration if it is unable to honor its promises, the union said, adding that a petition will be launched so its members can sign up for the strike on June 3.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said it expected the TRLU to strike during Dragon Boat Festival.

However, the MOTC said it will continue to work with the union to help iron out their differences so a consensus can be reached on the government's planned reorganization of the TRA.

In April, the TRLU said it was not opposed to the restructuring plan, but was unhappy the bill was submitted without proper consultations with TRA workers.

It has also voiced concerns in the past over the process of turning the administration into a public company, including fears that the compensation and retirement benefits of its members could be cut significantly.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Ko Lin)

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