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Minister urges collective bargaining to improve labor rights

Minister urges collective bargaining to improve labor rights

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) Labor Minister Wang Ju-hsuan urged workers Tuesday to join unions and use collective bargaining to negotiate for better rights, instead of waiting for the government to take action. She said three amended labor laws that took effect exactly one year ago on Labor Day are "important weapons" for workers seeking better benefits. The amended Labor Union Act, the Settlement of Labor Disputes Act and the Collective Bargaining Agreement Act lifted restrictions on workers joining labor unions and calling strikes and stipulated that employers cannot turn down requests by their workers for collective bargaining. "Taiwan is different from many countries in that the progress of labor relations is very slow and there is much room for improvement," Wang said at press conference to mark the anniversary of the laws' amendment. Wang said when a dispute arises, Taiwanese workers are used to looking to the government for solutions in the hope that the government would revise the law or even resolve individual cases. But in many countries, she said, workers use collective bargaining to negotiate for better labor conditions. She said that on a recent trip to Swaziland, a Taiwanese businessman there told her he is used to labor strikes in his company every year but he always manages to reach an agreement with his workers through negotiation. There is a lot Taiwan can learn from other countries, Wang said. However, the government needs to do more to assist labor unions in areas such as resolving disputes with employees, she said. Meanwhile, when asked by a reporter about workers' complaints over low wages and rising living costs, Wang said the Council of Labor Affairs will do its best to satisfy workers' needs and represent their concerns in inter-ministerial meetings. But the "economic pie has to be made bigger," she added. Wang said she hoped to see transformation of Taiwan's industries. She also would like to see improvement of the market, whether through the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement or other free trade pacts, so that workers can "share the fruits of economic growth," she said. (By Christie Chen)


Updated : 2021-07-24 12:18 GMT+08:00