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Labor groups assail government amid economic woes

Labor groups assail government amid economic woes

Taipei, Oct. 28 (CNA) More than 20 labor groups around Taiwan gathered in Taipei Sunday to protest the government's approach to dealing with the country's economic slump, describing it as "exploiting laborers in favor of conglomerates." Over 3,000 people took to the streets to express their anger at the government, which they called "an 'asshole' ruining Taiwan's people." The labor groups accused the government of sacrificing people's interests in the name of stimulating the economy and said the only economic interests gaining ground were those of conglomerates. The activists said the Cabinet's strategies to achieve "sensible" economic growth have not only not been felt by the public but have also led to the collapse of labor protection plans, such as labor insurance and pension funds. The protesters' main appeal was to oppose the government's plan to relax restrictions on importing foreign workers and a proposed plan to amend pensions paid out under the Labor Insurance Fund. They also demanded that the government raise the minimum monthly wage amid rising inflation and include pension payments and severance pay in the Regulations for the Management, Repayment, Collection and Allocation of the Arrear Wage Debts. The march set off from the intersection of Chongqing North Rd. and Beiping West Rd. The 100 people leading the rally kneeled down every six steps for 200 meters to drive home their desire to "demand justice, fight for fairness and protect their livelihoods." The protesters formed the Chinese characters "hun dan" -- the Chinese words for "asshole" -- with 800 eggs when they arrived at the Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office. They then threw the eggs toward the Presidential Office, which was protected by a cluster of police officers. The Taipei City Police Department said many of the policemen deployed at the scene were attacked with the eggs and later expelled those who threw the eggs at around 4 p.m. but did not arrest anybody. In response to the march, Labor Minister Pan Shih-wei said laborers have the right to express their opinions. He said the plan to amend pension payments under the Labor Insurance Fund is still under discussion and that the Council of Labor Affairs will do its best to protect the rights of local workers. (By Hsu Chih-wei, Liu Chien-pang and Jamie Wang)


Updated : 2021-07-26 07:21 GMT+08:00