CLA putting foreign workers ahead of locals: labor group
By Linger Liu,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The government should amend hiring laws to ensure local workers have greater employment opportunities than foreign workers, the Taiwan Labour Front said yesterday.
January 12, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
The group handed the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) a petition requesting the government to quickly adjust the examination procedures for companies wishing to hire foreign workers.
Hiring Locals Should be Prioritized: Labor Group
The front said that due to the government's efforts to improve Taiwan's economy by luring back businesses that have relocated across the Strait and abroad, the CLA has increased the average number of foreign workers employed by local enterprises to 40 percent, taking a heavy toll on the chances of local workers.
According to the group, the CLA did not set the promotion of local workers' job chances as its top priority, and claimed that this runs counter to the regulations of the Employment Service Act (ESA), which enshrines the principle of “local labor first.”
The Taiwan Labour Front asked the CLA to amend the ESA concerning the procedure for hiring foreign workers to remove the increasing flexibility of local enterprises to have a high ratio of foreign labor. The group said that if the CLA doesn't process the petition soon, it will lodge a complaint with the Control Yuan that the council is failing to fulfill its duty of securing local workers' work opportunities.
Securing Local Workers'
Rights a Must
According to the CLA, companies returning to Taiwan from mainland China and elsewhere may face difficulties in recruiting a sufficient amount of workers, and thus have been granted the freedom to hire larger ratios of foreign workers.
Once businesses have returned to Taiwan for more than one year, the percentage of their local and foreign workers will be examined, the council said.
If it finds that a company is employing a large degree more of foreign workers than Taiwanese workers, the CLA said it will withdraw the company's foreign worker quota.
It is currently evaluating the ESA in the light of the government's policies to lure back business investment.
The labor front claimed that the CLA allows such enterprises to have 5 to 15 percent of foreign workers, and may even upgrade the maximum threshold to 40 percent. It also exempts newly returned foreign enterprises that over-hire foreign workers from paying the applicable settlement fine for three years. This is even extended to five years for returning Taiwanese enterprises, according to the group.
The CLA is ignoring local workers' equal employment rights and at the same time has loosened regulations on the hiring of foreign labor, Taiwan Labour Front said.
It claimed that now if a local enterprise beginning a recruitment drive first hires around 50 percent of local workers, it can then make up the remaining 50 percent completely with foreigners.
The group said the government should amend the law to specifically prioritize the hiring of local workers ahead of foreigners.
If the businesses are still short of labor, they can further seek a different source for labor supplies, according to the group.