Mock referendum held by migrant workers receives major support

A total of 6,355 ballots were cast from September 17 to October 29


Volunteers and voters at one of the referendum ballot box near St. Christopher's Church on Chung Shan North Road (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A mock referendum organized by the island's Migrant Empowerment Network continues to receive major support according to the recent results of the poll released on Friday with 6,355 ballots cast from Sept. 17 to Oct. 29 on the referendum's three issues.

The three issues are the right to switch employers, the right to legal protection under the Labor Standards Act and the abolition of the manpower brokerage system that costs the migrant workers a hefty amount of money.

A total of 6,283 voters supported the first issue which asks  for migrant workers to be allowed to switch employers when they want. A total of  6,296 voters favored legalizing protections for laborers under the Labor Standards Act and 6,290 voters voted for the abolishing of the brokerage system.

This is was the third batch of poll results released since October and the results have been largely on the side of the laborers. The first two rounds of results announced on October 7 and 19 were also similar to the latest results, with 90 percent of voters supporting the migrants.

The mock referendum is being held in an attempt to urge the government of Taiwan to provide the migrant workers in the country with legal protection and have them covered under Taiwan's labor laws.

At the moment, migrant workers or foreign national care givers are not covered under the Labor Standards Act and do not have the liberty to change their employers. They have to pay a hefty amount of brokerage fees in order to find a job in Taiwan and have to work in contract-based jobs where they have to serve the minimum time mentioned in the contract before they can switch their jobs. 

The referendum is still continuing with the final results to be announced on December 17. The polls are stationed at 15 designated areas around Taiwan and ballots are open every two weeks.