Welfare of migrant workers in Taiwan should be of utmost concern

Taiwan’s Labor Ministry should take action in the series of violation of the rights of migrant workers

Several migrant workers from the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia hold protest march in Taipei.(Migrante International- Taiwan Chapter)

Several migrant workers from the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia hold protest march in Taipei.(Migrante International- Taiwan Chapter)

MANILA (Taiwan News) - Migrant workers' group, Migrante International- Taiwan and other labor rights group held a protest calling out the Taiwanese Ministry of Labor to take action on the worsening violation of the rights of migrant workers such as the illegal and unjust treatment of known smartphone and VR products manufacturing company, HTC to overseas Filipino workers.

Taiwan News stated in a report that a group of Serve the People-Taoyuan (SPA) members and Filipino migrant workers gathered in protest outside of the Google office in Taipei 101 to denounce HTC for recent layoffs and condemn the company for unjust treatment of Filipino workers. In a Facebook post of Migrante International-Taiwan chapter, Gilda Banugan, chairperson of the group said migrant workers group strongly condemned the unjust treatment and violation of the rights of Filipino migrant workers by HTC company. It also added that it was distressing to know that one of the largest company in Taiwan is at the forefront in lying, deceiving and violating the labor rights of Filipino migrant workers who are working in their company.

Migrante also said that after having learned of the news that HTC was sold to search engine giant, Google in 2017, the HTC management informed all its Filipino workers that they will be terminated from their jobs. After filing labor dispute mediation through the help of Serve the People Association, the mass layoff was temporarily stopped. Also, Migrante found out that HTC forged several documents, did not pay workers' benefits and instead did some deductions from the salaries of the OFWs. The said migrant workers group questioned the motive of action of HTC in doing such act that is escaping from the responsibility of their workers.

Migrante also called on the Taiwanese government to separate the worker's dormitory from factory when two Vietnamese migrant workers died in a factory fire.

​More than 60 migrant workers held protest march in Taipei, protesting the violation of the rights of migrant workers by HTC. (Image by Migrante International- Taiwan)

Prior to the protest, Taiwan News reported that The Migrant Empowerment Network in Taiwan (MENT) held a press conference in front of the Ministry of Labor in Taipei on May 23 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.

They said protests by migrant workers in Taiwan coinciding here in the Philippines where on June 2, more than 500 workers from food condiment company Nutri Asia also held protest after the management of Nutri Asia fired 50 workers including 5 union officials.

Recognizing the worth of labor in economy

We must realize that workers, not capitalists create wealth. Without the creativity, strength, skills and knowledge of the workers in creating and producing various products, it is impossible to address the needs of the people from basic needs to wants. Workers, since contributing much for the development of global economy are not asking for a royal treatment, what they want is a decent salary, enough benefits and safe working environment. Government should take action in addressing problems encountered by migrant workers. They should not play deaf, mute and blind to the plight of migrant workers.

*Christopher Rivera is a former campus journalist, and now a school teacher from the Philippines