Labor groups urge Taiwanese government to make law requiring separation of dorms from factories for migrants

Migrant workers interest groups on Wednesday demanded that the government make law to require separation of dormitories for migrant workers from factories, pointing out the fact that so far this year eight migrant workers have died in dorm fires

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Migrant workers interest groups on Wednesday demanded that the government make law to require separation of dormitories for migrant workers from factories, pointing out the fact that so far this year eight migrant workers have died in their dormitories due to a factory fire.

The Migrant Empowerment Network in Taiwan (MENT) held a press conference in front of the Ministry of Labor in Taipei on Wednesday to make the demand. Hsu Wei-dong (許惟棟), a member of the Hope Workers' Center in Hsinchu, said during the event that eight migrant workers have died in the Sican factory fire and the Chin Poon factory fire in the last six months all because their dormitories were located within the factories.

Hsu said that currently there are nearly 700,000 migrant workers in Taiwan, of whom 410,000 are industrial workers. This group of people not only have to deal with long working hours and low salaries, they also have to deal with the working environment of the so-called “3D” industry that stands for “dirty, difficult, and dangerous.” For those whose dormitory is located inside the factory, they are facing danger all day long, he added.

Therefore, he insisted that only by separating migrant workers’ dormitories from factories can the danger they face during their rest and sleep be significantly lowered, and can the scenarios of firefighters getting into factories to save people be decreased.

Taiwan International Worker's Association representative Wu Jing-ru (吳靜如) said that the “Foreign Workers Living/Caring Service Planning Book,” which serves not only as the guidelines for employers to provide their migrant workers with sanitary food, living space, and other necessities but also as the penal code for employers who violate the guidelines.

She said the Foreign Workers Living/Caring Service Planning Book should be translated into migrant workers’ native languages, and so should the Labor Standards Act and Employment Service Act, to ensure their right to know.

Wu said the government should also enforce the Foreign Workers Living/Caring Service Planning Book, penalize those who violate it, and make the results of the investigations into Sican and Chin Poon public as soon as possible.

Workforce Development Agency Cross-border Workforce Management Division senior specialist Su Yu-kuo (蘇裕國) told reporters that there will be interdepartmental discussion about the feasibility of separation of dormitories from factories next month.

He also said that the MOL has begun translation of the Foreign Workers Living/Caring Service Planning Book, adding that the translation will be completed by the end of June and the translated versions will be put online.