Railway union cancels Dragon Boat holiday strike after talks make progress

05/25/2022 08:33 PM
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One of the only few train services operated amid the Labor Day strike is seen at Xinzuoying Station in Kaohsiung. CNA photo May 1, 2022
One of the only few train services operated amid the Labor Day strike is seen at Xinzuoying Station in Kaohsiung. CNA photo May 1, 2022

Taipei, May 25 (CNA) The Taiwan Railway Labor Union (TRLU) announced Wednesday that it will cancel a planned strike on Dragon Boat Festival, after progress was made in negotiations with the transport ministry on a plan to corporatize the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA).

Although over 90 percent of the union's 1,400 drivers have expressed their support for the plan to strike on the traditional festival, which falls on June 3 this year, union leaders decided to make a concession after "receiving a show of goodwill from the government," said TRLU Chairman Chen Shih-chieh (陳世杰).

According to the union, the government moved toward its position on safety, asset management, workers' benefits, and future negotiations on 16 subsidiary regulations of the draft Taiwan Railway Corporation Act, which could likely have its third reading in the Legislature on Friday.

The union staged a one day strike on May 1 in protest over the draft legislation which would convert the TRA into a public corporation after consistently arguing there has been a lack of consultation between the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) and TRA workers.

However, during negotiations last week, the ministry agreed to compromise on several key issues brought up by the union, including the establishment of a safety committee in the new company which will include grassroots TRA workers, he said.

The government also agreed to maintain current benefits for TRA workers after the transition, following the model of Chunghwa Post Co., which remained an MOTC agency until it was corporatized in 2003, according to the union.

In addition, Chen suggested that threats of a strike in the near future may be less effective given the drop off in passengers due to the surge in domestic COVID-19 cases.

Labor action could hurt the union, TRA and passengers if not properly managed, he said.

In response, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said he was grateful for the union's decision, calling it a "good start" for both sides to resolve differences.

However, Chen said the union is still considering the possibility of a strike during Mid-Autumn Festival in September, Double Ten Day in October and other national holidays, depending on whether the MOTC keeps its promises.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Lee Hsin-Yin)


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