Labour Movement, Political Economy, Critics, Corporate Watch, Social Movement

New president, old elite – assessing Taiwan’s forthcoming 2016 election from a working class viewpoint.

Mao Yi Yu December 12, 2016.   There will be three presidential candidates competing in Taiwan’s 2016 presidential election. They are Tsai Ying Wen the leader of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Eric Chu who represents the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, KMT) and James Soong from the People First Party (PFP). According to pre-election opinion polls, Tsai Ying Wen’s popularity rating is the highest, much greater than that of Eric Chu and his party that is currently in power. The third competitor James Soong’s influence is relatively insignificant.

Next TV union threatens strike over work benefits

 (Editorial Note: As Next TV news labour negotiations broke down the union held a strike vote. The strike action received overwhelming support from union members. In Hong Kong and Taiwan, this is the first time a media union has obtained the right to strike. In the upcoming struggle, the union is facing a very hard situation. Without support from workers of other news stations, so far the struggle remains isolated.) Taipei Times  By Shelley Shan   The Next TV Workers’ Union yesterday threatened to go on strike as it accused the network of trying to curtail reporters’ benefits in order to reduce company losses. The network, which was previously owned by Next Media, was purchased by ERA Communications last year. Saying ERA had canceled many of the workers’ benefits, the union passed a resolution last week making it legitimate to go on strike. It became the first television network whose workers had approved the legal right to strike. The union further demanded that ERA not unilaterally cancel paid leave and holidays previously enjoyed by Next TV employees — including Labor Day, 12 days of sick leave and three typhoon holidays. Union president Cheng Yi-ping (鄭一平) said he stopped getting assignments and was demoted from his position as a television reporter to working full-time as union president after the union approved the resolution. CONTINUE READING

Seventeen worker unions come out against service trade pact

By Chi-hao James Lo, The China Post April 7, 2014, 12:02 am TWN TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Seventeen independent worker unions released a joint statement on Saturday stating their belief that the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement provides no benefits to the working class, calling on all blue collar workers to hit the streets on May 1, Labor Day, to protest against the pact. Nineteen days into the anti-pact protest movement and the occupation of the Legislature, 17 worker unions including the National Federation of Independent Trade Unions (全國自主勞工聯盟), the Chunghwa Telecom Workers' Union (中華電信工會) and National Alliance for Workers of Closed Factories (全國關廠工人連線) released a joint statement relaying their position against the pact. The statement declared that the free-trade ideals behind the pact will not improve the current hardships of the working class.

To Strike is the Urgent Task for Taiwan’s Trade Unions

Labor Vision (Taiwan)  2014.03.29 Since the March 18 occupation of the Legislative Yuan, with the exception of the trade union of the Cosmos Bank, which explicitly proposed to strike in support of the students, trade unions in general have been hestitating in relation to the students‘ action. The Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions regards the issue of the service trade agreement with China as a political issue, and thinks it not appropriate for trade unions to strike over this reason. The Labor Rights Association even led several trade unions to demand for the early implementation of the trade agreement. We, however, declare that trade unions should not be absent from this anti-service trade agreement movement, rather they should strike to defend their own labor rights. In doing this unions are not just expressing solidarity with the students, rather they are also acting to fight for their own rights. Therefore trade unions should not allow themselves to be restricted by the law governing the right to strike, rather they should decide in accordance to what is to the best interest of labor. We hereby propose:

Voices from the Taiwan Youth and Workers: The March 18th Occupation of Parliament In Protest against the Trade Agreement

Au Loong Yu March 20, 2014 Since March 18th, several hundred young students have been occupying the Taiwanese Parliament for more than 36 hours. They have been supported by 20,000 protestors outside the parliament. They are protesting due to the simple idea of defending common people’s livelihoods from the predatory nature of a trade agreement which is not just about the trading of goods but also allows the free flow of capital to Taiwan, and which may result in a further race to the bottom in terms of quality of life across the strait. The protestors also act because of their aspiration for democracy. The totally undemocratic way that the KMT government has handled the bill has driven many into rebellion.

Labour Dispatch Protection Law: Protest by Labour Groups

More than 50 representatives from labour groups in Taiwan submitted a petition and protested outside the Council of Labour Affairs against the draft labour dispatch protection law. Some of the protesters argued that the law would not protect labour rights and instead safeguards the interests of the dispatch companies. They called for dispatch labour to be prohibited in favour of direct employment. The full report is only available in Chinese.

Filipino workers call on Taiwan for job process normalisation

News Desk The China Post Publication Date : 07-03-2011   Filipino workers in Taiwan Sunday (March 6) protested against the government's freeze on workers entering the nation after the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) tightened screening of job applications, as the Philippines continues to refuse to apologise for the deportation of 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects to China. The move was considered by local activists to be technically barring the influx of workers. Filipino migrant workers union KaSaPi, the Taiwan International Workers' Association (TIWA), Indonesian migrant workers association IPIT and other related organisations rallied on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office holding up signs that read “APOLOGIZE” and calling out slogans like “We did nothing wrong” to express their displeasure over the situation. The workers also performed the traditional Filipino “Ati-Atihan” dance to Korean pop song “Sorry Sorry”, all in hopes of the government accepting their apology on behalf of the Philippine government and calling off the retaliatory measure. Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou is reportedly greatly dissatisfied with the Philippines after President Benigno Aquino III denied Taiwan's request for an apology. The “A-word” (apologise) sparked further dispute when the envoy from the Philippines, sent by Aquino to Taiwan to repair bilateral relations, also offered no official apology. Wu Yong-yi, a researcher from TIWA, asked the government to listen to the Filipino workers in Taiwan, as the workers are innocent and the real victims of the diplomatic row between the two countries. Instead of letting Filipino workers become scapegoats for the Philippines, Taiwan should draft more appropriate measures against the Filipino government, said Wu. The CLA implemented a stricter screening of applications for hiring new Filipino workers on February 8, which TIWA said amounted to a “technical freeze on Filipino workers”. Currently, the screening period for new Filipino workers' applications can take up to four months, compared with the previous 12-day maximum, said CLA minister Wang Ju-hsuan. Wang also stated last month that the CLA is ready to implement a total freeze on work permits for new Filipino workers if the foreign affairs ministry decides to adopt more stringent measures against the Philippines. According to Wu, there are around 80,000 Filipino workers in Taiwan. The punitive measures will directly affect another 5,000 workers who are currently applying for jobs in Taiwan and another 3,000 who are about to change their contracts.

Former Japan Airlines employees stage protest

Source: Taipei Times KICKING UP A STINK: The laid-off workers described the government as being ‘incompetent’ in fighting for their rights and said they will hold more protests on Saturday. By Shelley Huang / Staff Reporter Former employees of Japan Airlines’ (JAL) Taiwan branch yesterday gathered in front of the Council of Labor Affairs in Taipei to protest against what they called the council’s turning a blind eye to illegal mass layoffs by the company.
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