New Taipei officials investigate overcrowding after Vietnamese worker protest

New Taipei labor officials discover over 360 Vietnamese and Indonesian workers forced to live in dorm designed for 100

Cramped quarters. (Photo by New Taipei Department of Labor Affairs.

Cramped quarters. (Photo by New Taipei Department of Labor Affairs.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- After over a hundred Vietnamese workers took to the streets of Xizhi to protest overcrowded living conditions, the New Taipei City Department of Labor Affairs said yesterday (April 24) said that they have looked into the situation and have warned their employer to rectify the situation or fines, reported CNA.

Labor department section chief Liao Wu-hui (廖武輝) visited the protester's living accommodations today and after checking the floors and interviewing the residents, he found that it did not meet the Ministry of Labor's requirements for foreign worker housing. Liao said that a total of 362 workers, including 334 Vietnamese and 28 Indonesians, now live in a dormitory designed for only 100 people, violating the requirement of giving each person a living area of 3.2 square meters.

The workers' contracts list NT$2,500 as the boarding fee, however the company is actually deducting NT$3,940 for rent and it is even charging them an extra NT$400 for air conditioning, which the workers find unreasonable.

Worker's quarters. (Photo from New Taipei Department of Labor Affairs)

Liao said that the labor bureau has warned the employer St.Shine Optical Co., Ltd. (精華光學公司) and the labor broker to immediately rectify the situation and will continue to monitor the situation. The labor bureau will also convene a meeting on the boarding fees, dormitory conditions and living arrangements of foreign workers on a in order to safeguard their rights and interests.

New Taipei Department of Labor Affairs Director Hsu Hsiu-neng (許秀能) said that as a well-known company listed on the stock market, the employer should comply with basic norms and take social responsibility to create a friendly environment for its foreign workers. Hsu said that if the recommended improvements are not made within the established deadline, the company could face fines of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000, and ultimately could have their license to employ foreign workers revoked.

Bunk beds. (Photo from New Taipei Department of Labor Affairs)