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400 migrant workers march for right to change jobs in Taiwan

Migrant workers march in Taipei demanding change to Employment Service Act

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Migrant workers march for right to freely change employers. 

Migrant workers march for right to freely change employers.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Migrant workers marched through the streets of Taipei on Sunday (Jan. 17) to demand the right to freely change employers.

Over 400 migrant workers of various nationalities set out from Taipei Main Station, walked past Democratic Progressive Party headquarters, and ended the march at the Ministry of Labor, reported CNA. The marchers held signs in multiple languages that read, "I want the freedom to transfer to new employers."

400 migrant workers march for right to change jobs in Taiwan
(CNA photo)

The protest, which was organized by the Migrants Empowerment Network in Taiwan (MENT), called for the abolition of Article 53, Paragraph 4 of the Employment Service Act (就業服務法), which bars migrant workers from changing employers except under extreme circumstances, such as the death of their employer, the closing of the factory where they work, their boat sinking, and other situations not caused by workers' actions.

Once in front of the labor ministry, migrant workers erected a bamboo fence representing the current law restricting them from changing jobs. One protester shouted, "I want the freedom to transfer!" in Mandarin multiple times before others collectively pushed the fence to the ground.

400 migrant workers march for right to change jobs in Taiwan
(CNA photo)

In response to the protest, the MOL's Workforce Development Agency (WDA) issued a statement in which it wrote that migrant workers can change jobs at the end of their contract if they go through a publicly registered employment service agency or if the original employer consents to them changing to a new one. If the original employer has violated the law, the migrant worker can sign an agreement with a new employer to become their employee.

However, the WDA stated that except in special circumstances, migrant workers cannot independently change employers because it could lead to unstable labor supply and increase the cost of bringing migrant workers while also impacting the care for people with severe disabilities. It emphasized that changes to the law would affect employment stability and therefore require public consensus.

400 migrant workers march for right to change jobs in Taiwan
(CNA photo)

400 migrant workers march for right to change jobs in Taiwan
(CNA photo)

400 migrant workers march for right to change jobs in Taiwan
(CNA photo)

400 migrant workers march for right to change jobs in Taiwan
(CNA photo)

400 migrant workers march for right to change jobs in Taiwan
(CNA photo)

400 migrant workers march for right to change jobs in Taiwan
(CNA photo)

400 migrant workers march for right to change jobs in Taiwan
(CNA photo)

400 migrant workers march for right to change jobs in Taiwan
(CNA photo)


Updated : 2022-05-21 18:40 GMT+08:00