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Seventeen worker unions come out against service trade pact

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Seventeen independent worker unions released a joint statement on Saturday stating their belief that the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement provides no benefits to the working class, calling on all blue collar workers to hit the streets on May 1, Labor Day, to protest against the pact.

Nineteen days into the anti-pact protest movement and the occupation of the Legislature, 17 worker unions including the National Federation of Independent Trade Unions (全國自主勞工聯盟), the Chunghwa Telecom Workers' Union (中華電信工會) and National Alliance for Workers of Closed Factories (全國關廠工人連線) released a joint statement relaying their position against the pact. The statement declared that the free-trade ideals behind the pact will not improve the current hardships of the working class.

As opposed to other worker unions such as the Labor Rights Association (勞動人權協會) who have shown their support to the pact, the 17 unions stated that the agreement will indeed stimulate capital circulation and increase profits. However, employers do not tend to share revenue gains with low-level workers, a fact illustrated by the relative increase in economic prosperity and the decrease in income of blue collar workers observed in recent years. The comparative relation is proof that the promoted trickle-down effect is nonexistent.

The statement also noted that the demonstrators should review the current representative government and the intended functions of a constitutional democracy in order to improve upon the mechanism for the people to be involved in politics. The unions also said that the emphasis of the pact should not be manipulated as the difference between people for and against relations with mainland China, but rather the imbalance of labor relations.

All 17 worker unions encouraged people to join their protest on Labor Day to voice their disapproval of the pact and protect the rights of working class people.

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