TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Thousands of people gathered in front of the headquarters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Saturday and later proceeded to the Legislative Yuan to demand the withdrawal of the revision draft of the labor law which they believed would make overwork in Taiwan even worse.
The revisions to the Labor Standards Act passed the first reading at the Legislative Yuan in mid-November, and the DPP, which holds the majority of the seats, will be trying to push them through the second and third reading early next year, according to a Central News Agency's report in the evening.
The revisions outline possibilities to put off the one-day mandatory day off every week, increase overtime hours from 46 to 54 per month, put off annual paid holidays by one year, and reduce break hours from 11 to eight hours between shifts through negotiations between workers or labor unions and employers and vetting by governmental agencies.
Even though the labor unions have cast doubt on the effectiveness of negotiations and vetting in protecting workers’ rights, the government has said the authorities would ensure that employers abide by the regulations.
While visiting Tainan this afternoon, Premier William Lai (賴清德) told the press that he hoped Saturday's protest would be undertaken smoothly and that he would have officials collect the opinions of protesters for the cabinet to reflect upon as the revision draft moves forward.
According to the demonstration organizer, there were more than 10,000 people taking part in the protest less than two hours after the event started at thirty minutes past noon.
The demonstration was supposed to end at 5 p.m. at the Legislative Yuan, but many protesters remained even after the police started signaling warning signs.
At around 6 p.m., Huang Yu-te (黃育德), a labor union representative, dissolved the crowd and said the protest would resume on January 5, 2018 when a provisional session is held for lawmakers to continue reviewing the revision draft.