Hundreds of migrant workers to march in Taipei on Sunday

The march on Sunday demands improvement of labor rights

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Hundreds of migrant workers will be seen marching in the streets of Taipei on Sunday with the theme 'Recognizing Non-Citizens', an action to bring to the government's attention the need to improve current labor policies as well as to consider involving the workers themselves while creating new policies that would affect the migrant workers directly. 

The demonstrations will start from the Ministry of Labor at 1:30 pm and will move to Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building. 

"The theme of this rally is 'Recognizing Non-Citizens.' We hope that Taiwanese society will recognize the lack of political rights of these non-citizens, who, like local citizens, live, consume and pay taxes in Taiwan," said Hsu Wei-tung (許惟棟), a member of the Migrants Empowerment Network in Taiwan (MENT), as reported by the Central News Agency (CNA). 

According to Hsu, there are currently more than 670,000 migrant workers in Taiwan and some have stayed for decades, actively paid taxes and contributed to the economy and various industries of the country. Therefore they should be entitled to basic rights such as mandatory days off and the minimum wage such as for local Taiwanese citizens set by the government. 

"Without political rights, these workers do not have a say in policies that deeply affect them, such as the right to change employers freely and be protected by the Labor Standards Act, and their fate can only be decided by other people," Hsu continued as reported by CNA.

At the end of the demonstration, the organizers will then reveal the results of a mock referendum held in areas across Taiwan last September. The referendum covered three key issues the migrant workers faced such as: protection under the Labor Standards Act, the right to change employers freely and the government 's need to remove the private employment brokerage system to reduce the expenses of the workers looking for jobs in Taiwan. 

Over 10,000 votes were cast in the mock referendum and according to the partial vote tallies released earlier, it revealed that almost the majority of the voters voted in favor of the workers. 

The organizers of the demonstration want to create a sense of dialogue with the government and to make sure the voices of the migrant workers are heard during the policy-making process.