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January, 4, 2017

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Gov't feels workweek law pressure on 3 fronts
By Kuan-lin Liu, The China Post and CNA

The government is under increasing pressure as laborers and employers unpack the details of a new workweek law and the general public begins to feel its impact.

Just days into the new year, the government's workweek policy, which came into effect on Dec. 23, has already made headlines.

Following reports of businesses raising prices to make up for rising personnel costs, Premier Lin Chuan (林全) told the local daily China Times that "cost increases were inevitable" for labor-intensive industries.

Although Lin expressed hope that new rules governing overtime pay would prompt companies to increase employment or to give their workforce more rest time, businesses, workers and think tanks were not as optimistic.

'A policy where hardly anyone wins'

The new rules may result in a "triple loss" for workers, businesses and consumers, according to Lai Cheng-yi (賴正鎰), chairman of the General Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of China.

Secretary-General Tsai Lien-sheng (蔡練生), of the Chinese National Federation of Industries, spoke out against the inflexibility of the new policy, which he said "made scheduling work hours for businesses with five or fewer staff members impossible."

New labor rules set a cap on overtime work and stipulate that employees must receive one day off for every six days of work.

Local media reported that employers were already having trouble hiring help — a problem set to be exacerbated by tighter constraints on scheduling and overtime pay.

Lin Bo-feng (林柏豐), chairman of the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, Taiwan, compared the current price hikes to the "dual hikes" to fuel and electricity prices seen several years back.

He said the current situation was "worse than the dual price hikes of the past" because the latest hikes were accompanied by shrinking disposable incomes and rising operating costs.

The new workweek rules were"a policy where hardly anyone wins," Tsai said.

Lin said the policy would raise business costs by 5 to 8 percent — more than the 2 to 3 percent increase prompted by the fuel and electricity price hikes.

Workers Return to Protest

Representatives from various workers' union called themselves "the biggest losers" in the matter as they resumed demonstrations outside the Ministry of Labor Tuesday afternoon to demand what they called "much-needed action to close the loopholes" in the new workweek policy. The new workweek policy faced massive opposition from workers' groups even before its implementation last Dec. 23.

Guo Kuan-chun (郭冠均) of the Joint Struggle of the Workers (工鬥), the organizers of Tuesday's demonstration, pointed out problems with a policy that he said could lead to "workers working more and getting paid less."

A representative of The Union (台灣高等教育產業工會), Lin Po-yi (林柏儀) called out the premier and businesses that were claiming an increase in operating costs.

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Taiwan, don't look for the easy way out
The China Post News Staff

Intended to give workers more rest in a nation known for its long working hours and stagnant wages, the "one fixed day off, one flexible day off" labor amendments have steadily garnered distressing reactions in local and social media.

News of businesses moving to enact measures to meet the new regulations has emerged, included price hikes and reduced business hours. Reports such as popular food chains upping their prices have colored media since Taiwan entered the new year. On the other hand, Taiwan's two major convenience stores denied reports that stores would be closing over the weekend in response to the regulations.

The latest circumstances only presented examples of how the new holiday policy would hinder Taiwanese businesses' operations, pose price hikes and create a more difficult environment for Taiwanese nationals to go about their daily lives in an already wage-stagnant economy.

Throughout the process of the workweek policy going through government and legislative review amid vigorous debate and mass protests for the latter part of last year, enterprises have complained about facing the prospect of increased staff costs and subsequent price hikes.

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California Rose Bowl Parade boasts colorful floats plus a heavy police presence

PASADENA, California--The colorful and lively Rose Parade marched safely Monday under cloudy skies and the watchful presence of more than 1,000 law enforcement officers.

No major problems were reported after security and other safety measures were beefed up for the 128th annual parade as a response to several terror attacks in Europe in the past year.

There were no known threats toward Pasadena, officials said, but in addition to uniformed and plainclothes officers, additional security measures were taken. Sturdy barricades were erected at more than 50 intersections to prevent a terrorist attack like ones that happened in Berlin and Nice, France, last year when trucks barreled into crowds of people.

A large law enforcement presence was also seen at the nearby Rose Bowl, where the University of Southern California was to play Penn State.

As fans tailgated hours before the game, several truckloads of FBI SWAT officers arrived at the stadium. They were joined by Los Angeles sheriff's deputies, the California Highway Patrol, Pasadena police, bomb-sniffing dogs and Homeland Security officers.

The 5 1/2-mile parade featured marching bands, horseback riders and dozens of ornately decorated flower-covered floats.

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Bilingual News
統一超賺跨年財 業績年增超過2成
記者王莞甯/鉅亨網, The China Post news staff

統一超 (2912-TW)7-ELEVEN 大搶跨年財,統計旗下全台近 150 家跨年人氣門市,在元旦假期期間,總業績較去年同期大幅成長超過 20%,其中,信義區周邊共 40 家門市,即吸引近 10 萬人次到店消費。

統一超指出,由於今年跨年適逢周六假期加上氣候宜人,許多民眾轉移到度假旅遊勝地跨年,包括墾丁、宜蘭、屏東和花蓮等區域門市,業績明顯較去年同期成長 20-30%。

跨年熱銷前 5 名商品依序是飲料、CITY CAFE、啤酒、包裝零食和糖果,且冷飲銷量較平日多 3 倍以上成長,以水、運動飲料和能量補給飲最受歡迎,CITY CAFE 冰飲也賣得比熱飲好,霜淇淋甚至締造單店銷量 10 倍成長的成績

此外,統一超關係企業在跨年活動周邊的門市也賺到跨年財,康是美銷售較往年好的商品有眼藥水、感冒藥 (綜合感冒、止痛) 和口罩,均較去年同期成長超過 15% 以上。

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