Alexa

Trade unions issue Labor Day call for better workers' rights

Trade unions issue Labor Day call for better workers' rights

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) The Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions, which comprises 22 labor unions, called on the government Tuesday to better protect workers' rights by instituting several measures, including a ban on the practice of hiring dispatch workers. In addition to prohibiting temporary hiring though brokers, the government should raise the minimum wage, reduce the maximum number of working hours, make it mandatory for employees in all businesses to have two days off per week, and make an effort to reduce vocational hazards, said Shih Chao-hsien, president of the alliance. The alliance also called on the government to make it mandatory for workers in businesses that employ four people or fewer to be included in the labor insurance system. Currently, only businesses that employ five people or more are required to join the labor insurance system. The government should also quickly pass a new a pension scheme bill for employees who work at state-run businesses but do not qualify for pensions under the public servants pension system, the unions said. In response, ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-jen promised support for the call to raise the minimum wage, restrict the practice of dispatch hiring and limit working hours to a maximum of 40 per week. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Ying-yuan and Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lin Shih-chia both said they would support the unions' appeals. Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, activists called on the relevant agencies to allow disabled employees to retire sooner in light of the physically degenerative conditions among some disabled individuals. Huang Chih-chien, a disabled worker, said his physical condition has been deteriorating rapidly since he turned 48 and he is worried that he will not be able to keep working until the retirement age of 60. Huang hopes he and others like him will be able to choose early retirement at age 50. Chang Hsueh-heng, another disabled employee, said although Article 47 of the People with Disabilities Rights Protection Act stipulates that government agencies make it possible for people with disabilities to retire early, the agencies have done nothing to comply with the law. Wu and another KMT Legislator Yang Yu-hsin called on the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) to amend the relevant regulations immediately. In response, CLA Deputy Minister Kuo Fang-yu said the council needs to consider whether the labor insurance scheme is in a financial position to cope with a lower retirement age. The CLA is studying the feasibility of allowing disabled individuals to retire early and a decision can be expected in September, he said. Kuo said that currently, some disabled individuals are allowed to retire at age 55 but are entitled to fewer benefits. In cases where an individual has completely lost the ability to work, they can apply for disability pension, he added. The labor insurance system had a balance of NT$480.9 billion (US$16.3 billion) as of March, but more than 2 million of the 9 million people insured became eligible for retirement in December 2011, according to Kuo. Should all 2 million people choose to retire now, the system would go into deficit to the tune of around NT$2 trillion, he said. Under the Labor Standards Act, employees with 25 years or more on the job, people 55 years and over who have worked for at least 15 years, and those 60 and over who have worked for more than 10 years are eligible for retirement with pension. (By Justin Su, Chen Wei-ting and Jamie Wang)


Updated : 2021-03-06 10:03 GMT+08:00