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SOGO Department Store accused of violating workers' rights

SOGO Department Store accused of violating workers' rights

Taipei, Feb. 2 (CNA) Two saleswomen on Tuesday accused Taiwan's SOGO Department Store of imposing various unreasonable restrictions on its employees such as forbidding them from sitting down or drinking water during work hours, in contravention of workers' rights.

At a news conference, Taipei City Councilor Hsieh Wei-chou of the Democratic Progressive Party displayed a list of the store's workplace regulations, which state that salespersons are not allowed to drink water, eat food, sit or squat on the job.

Salespersons are required to remain standing at all times or risk a fine of NT$500 each time they violate the rules, according to the list displayed by Hsieh.

At the press conference, a woman surnamed Chang said that when she was working at SOGO's Tianmu store as a salesperson in a clothing section, her shifts lasted 11 hours per day and she was not allowed to sit down or squat during that period.

Chang said she would be scolded by a floor supervisor if she leaned against a desk or wall, even when no customers were around.

The long hours of standing caused health problems such as varicose veins, plantar fasciitis and intervertebral disk herniation, Chang said.

She said she resigned after four months and went to work at Far Eastern Department Store, where chairs are provided for salespersons.

Since Chang left, the situation at SOGO's Tianmu store has not changed, according to a saleswoman surnamed Wu, who said at the press conference that she was still employed there.

Li Chin-chin, a section chief at Taipei's Department of Labor, said that although salespersons are hired by the various retailers who have a presence in department stores, the workers are under the direct supervision of the department stores and are considered store employees.

Department stores should safeguard the health of their workers, Lin said, adding that stores which fail to provide chairs for their workers will be given notice to do so within a specific period of time.

Those refusing to comply will be subject to a maximum fine of NT$150,000, which may be repeated until the problem is addressed, he said.

There was no immediate reaction from the management of the SOGO stores. (By Ku Chuan and Y.F. Low)

Updated : 2021-05-19 05:54 GMT+08:00