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Taiwan to set regulations governing 'dispatched' workers

Taiwan to set regulations governing 'dispatched' workers

Taipei, April 30 (CNA) The Cabinet-level Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) is working to establish regulations governing the hiring of temporary workers through manpower brokers to prevent abuses, despite the opposition of labor groups, who want the practice banned altogether. Lee Lai-hsi, head of the CLA's Department of Planning, said Monday that the system of brokering workers is a reality in Taiwan, and "it is better to put it on the right track rather than allowing it to get worse without restraint." The CLA is currently debating whether it would be better to draft a new law to protect these "dispatched" workers or to add a new section to the Labor Standards Act, Lee said. The local dispatched worker system is based on indirect employment, where companies pay brokers for the use of temporary workers on fixed-term or open-ended contracts for varying periods of time. The workers are generally paid by their brokers. Critics say the system has spawned many abuses, including brokers paying excessively low wages to their employees, the failure to protect the workers' basic rights, and a loss of job opportunities for people seeking full-time work. The move to formally regulate the trade has drawn the opposition of the Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions, which has argued that laws already exist allowing flexible hiring practices, such as adding short-term or seasonal workers, and that any new legislation would only legitimize the longer term hiring of "dispatched" workers. Such a system, the group has said, is exploitative and keeps workers in poverty and should be banned. The organization has planned a protest outside the Legislative Yuan on Tuesday -- Labor Day -- to voice its opposition and urge the authorities concerned to improve the labor environment, it said. Taiwan Labor Front Secretary-General Sun Yu-lien said he has been told by dispatched workers that their wages are even lower than those of foreign workers in the country. He agreed, however, with the idea of setting legal parameters to regulate the use of such workers and protect their rights and benefits. At a public hearing on the issue at the Legislative Yuan earlier in the day, National Chengchi University assistant law professor Lin Liang-jung said he hoped for a law that would regulate the practice and protect temporary workers. But he also said such a law would have to clearly define what "dispatching" means and how it should be valued, and also guarantee that workers hired under the system would not squeeze full-time employees out of their jobs. (By Sherry Tang, Tseng Ying-yu and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-03-01 12:25 GMT+08:00