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Taiwan train station staff to join drivers in May 1 action

Legislative Yuan to start reviewing TRA reform package April 21

Unions say train station staff will join drivers in staying away from work May 1. 

Unions say train station staff will join drivers in staying away from work May 1.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Up to 80% of station staff plan to join 90% of train drivers taking leave on May 1 in a union campaign against Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) reforms, reports said Tuesday (April 19).

Staff will take leave or refuse to work overtime on Labor Day following Transportation Minister Wang Kwo-tsai’s (王國材) refusal to withdraw a plan to corporatize the rail company. The plan is scheduled for review by the Legislative Yuan on April 21.

Union officials said Tuesday that in addition to the train drivers, staff at TRA stations are now also joining the campaign to stay away on May 1, CNA reported. The workers belong to two different unions.

Both groups have accused Wang of neglecting workers’ concerns and of hastily pushing through reforms with several deadly train accidents in recent years as the excuse. The legislative package also focuses too much on land use and redevelopment and not enough on the safety concerns that should be paramount, union leaders said, rejecting the government’s claim that there was a link between safety and the TRA’s transition to being state-run.

Wang wants to transform the TRA, which is currently an agency under his ministry, into a state-run corporation within three years without job losses. However, the unions have doubts about the handling of TRA debt, salaries, promotions, and pensions.