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June 29, 2017

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Students at NCCU protest exploitation of student workers

By Ruby Liu -- Students at National Chengchi University (NCCU) yesterday protested the campus "Light House Cafe," claiming the restaurant exploited 15 student workers by not paying their overtime, not offing labor and health insurance or break time, and fostered several other unreasonable working conditions.

The students held a press conference in front of the cafe to express their anger and ask for compensation.

Former student worker Stone Lin (凌國超) said he was the only student worker with labor insurance and health insurance coverage at the cafe.

"The manager told me not to tell other students about (my insurance) because they don't have any," Lin said.

Lin was the only student from China University of Technology among the 15 students employees.

Hsiao Han-Yuan (蕭翰園), head of NCCU General Management Section, said the school has been negotiating with the restaurant owner and the students to solve the argument.

"NCCU already filed a document today to demand that the Light House Cafe show the certificates of labor and health insurance of their workers. NCCU will fine the restaurant according to contract if they don't offer insurance to its part-time employees."

Hsiao also added that the school doesn't have the authority to investigate the restaurant, nor can the school force the restaurant to hand over the record of working hours, because it would be against the Personal Information Protection Act.

NCCU Student Labor Rights Association (SLRA) spokesperson Lin Yi-Chih (林奕志) said that these rights-violated students came to them for assistance last October and they also handed in the complainants to the restaurant owner on behalf of the 15 students.

"I felt disappointed that the government went to the wrong branch store of Light House in Neihu when conducting their snap check," Lin said, adding that "it is ridiculous to inform the Light House Cafe that they will (be audited) in the following days so that they have enough time to cover the records of the part-time students' working hours."

Prof. Miao Yen-Wei (苗廷威) from the department of Sociology of NCCU said that it's a pity to see such a case happening on the campus and that the school doesn't have the authority to help these students, leaving them to challenge the restaurant by themselves.

According to the SLRA spokesperson, after the protest, the restaurant has promised to pay all overtime salary to the 15 students.

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