Greater commitment needed in fight against labor violations
The China Post news staffNew Taipei City's Department of Labor on Friday conducted a random check of 43 long-term care facilities. The city government leveled fines ranging from NT$20,000 to NT$30,000 for 29 cases of labor law violations against 22 firms. The transgressions include not giving overtime pay or failing to give adequate amounts of the same, not recording sign-in and sign-out times and not giving extra pay for working on holidays.
October 21, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
In reality, labor protection violations are rampant in our society. The health care industry is struggling with this phenomenon, but overwork and underpay are facts of life in the current economy. Also, not getting paid for working extra hours has become institutionalized as a legitimate demand, so people are reluctant to ask for extra compensation.
When understaffed, an organization demands constituent parts take over additional responsibilities to the detriment of the endurance and function of parts. The expectation, or rather demand, on the part of management is that it can achieve the necessary results with the minimal level of expenditure in upkeep. In the real world, that upkeep comprises all the associated personnel costs — salary, paid days off and various form of social insurance.
Unrealistic or inequitable expectations are inculcated into a system by collective conditioning. That is why it is so difficult for reforms to a social structure to be carried out. The suffering of individuals is maintained through across-the-board suppression, and structural inertia feeds upon itself.
Determining where the reasonable line of duties should be drawn is a tricky task, but there is trouble when workers are uniformly burdened with expectations to overwork. This results in the degeneration of the individual pieces of the enterprise machine, and accelerated wear follows.
An article appearing in Business Today magazine titled “Nurses' blood-and-tears confession: I'm a patient, too” in May offered first-hand accounts of the debilitating conditions under which nurses work in this country.
An interviewee says she contracted stomach ulcers that she thinks resulted from not eating on schedule due to the demands of her job. She terminated her contract early because the employer did not offer a safe environment at work — she says she accidentally got stabbed by a needle contaminated by blood from a Hepatitis C patient. Then, she had to fight an exhausting legal battle against the company's claims of fines for contract termination.