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June 25, 2017

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Former toll collectors protest at MOTC

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Over a hundred former highway toll collectors protested in front of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) to fight for their working rights that they say the ministry failed to protect.

The protesters, who are former highway toll collectors from Tainan, Changhua, Yunlin and Miaoli, raised signs saying that the MOTC only benefited the Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co. (FETC) and abandoned former highway toll collectors' working rights.

Representatives from the National Alliance for Workers of Closed Factories (NAWCF,全國關廠工人連線) also showed up at the protest to support the demonstrators.

According to the protestors, the negotiation results from the MOTC's National Freeway Bureau (高公局) and the 10 representatives of the highway toll collectors were questionable, so they demanded the MOTC to launch another negotiation.

National Freeway Bureau Chief Secretary Cheng Chorng-been (鄭崇賓), who accepted the petition from protesters, said that the results from negotiation are an existing legal status, and have been transferred to the Department of Labor for further reference.

"It is impossible to start a new negotiation unless the negotiation result is deemed invalid through a legal process," said Cheng.

Lin Pi-huang (林碧煌), the head of the Self-Help Organization of highway toll collectors, said "The 10 former highway toll collectors who represented all employees to negotiate did not have enough information regarding the case," said Lin. "So it is not fair to have those 10 people to represent all the toll collectors."

"It is not easy for most former highway toll collectors to feed their entire families by the monthly unemployment subsidy that is over NT$20,000," said Lin.

According to Lin, the FETC's plan to arrange new jobs for former highway toll collectors was not realistic. Take Yunlin County for example, Lin said. The FETC provided two positions at Mos Burger, according to Lin, but there are still 70 to 80 former highway toll collectors waiting for a job opening.

FETC spokeswoman Chen Shih-li said that the company has been requesting job openings from its affiliates, and about half of the jobs have lower thresholds regarding educational background and experience.

According to Chen, among the 466 former highway toll collectors who agreed to accept job transfers by the FETC, 174 of them have already been hired, and the FETC hopes to place all 466 toll collectors at new jobs by this June.

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