Neither the rain nor the cold prevented several migrants, labor activists, and leaders of non-governmental organizations from joining last Sunday's protest action in front of the Council of Labor Affairs.
Marching from the Taipei Train Station to the CLA's head office on Yenping North Road, the protesters held up banners stating their demands: Abolish the labor brokerage system and institute a country-to-country hiring program; give migrants the right to change employers; allow foreign workers to work in Taiwan indefinitely; include caregivers and household helpers in Taiwan's Labor Standards Law; and allow migrants to form unions.
Called "Migrant Workers March 2005," the rally drew the participation of Filipinos, Indonesians, Vietnamese, and Thais. Each group provided cultural numbers. The Filipinos, Indonesians, and Thais danced, while the Vietnamese presented a skit. The latter's performance was so touching that a number of workers cried during the show.
"That's the reality," said Reverend Bruno Ciceri, director of the Stella Maris International Center in Kaohsiung.
Local workers also took part in the program. Bowie Chen of the Nakasi Band sang a local song.
The protest was organized by the Promotion Alliance for the Household Services Act, a group comprising several non-governmental organizations. The alliance has been pushing for the passage of a draft bill that aims to safeguard the rights and welfare of home managers and caregivers.