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Labor groups protest at Ministry of Labor

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Over 10 labor groups and unions yesterday afternoon gathered in front of the Ministry of Labor (MOL) headquarters, launching a failed attempt to break through police lines and enter the building.

The unions and labor groups, including the Taiwan Labor Front (勞工陣線) and the Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions (全國產業總工會), jointly staged a parade in Taipei on Labor Day, demanding workers' rights and improved welfare.

The demonstrators also protested against trade liberalization, privatization of state-owned enterprises and bank mergers while calling for better working conditions.

Sunflower Movement student activists Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆), Dennis Wei (魏揚) and Hung Chung-yen (洪崇晏) also took part in the parade.

Protesters gathered on Ketagalan Boulevard around noon yesterday and marched on the streets in Taipei before finally arriving at the MOL building at 3:30 p.m. Demonstrators raised signs that read “low wages is a national shame.”

The road in front of the government building was packed with protesters in spite of rainfall. Over 200 police with shields were dispatched to separate the demonstrators from the MOL building's main entrance.

Around 4 p.m. the front row of the crowd attempted to break through police lines and enter the MOL building. Clashes between police and demonstrators ensued.

Police later agreed to step back, allowing more than 10 protesters to stage a sit-in in the middle of the MOL square.

Protesters started to leave the area after the organizers of the demonstration announced an end to the event at around 4:30 p.m.

The organizers of the protest claimed that over 20,000 demonstrators took part in the demonstration. The Taipei City Police Department,

on the other hand, said an estimated 7,500 people joined the protest.

MOL Response

The MOL responded to the protest, saying that it respects people's right to express their opinions and added that it will handle protesters' demands appropriately.

The ministry said that it will propose an amendment to the relevant laws next year, aiming to reduce regulated working hours. The MOL also said that it will draft a bill to better protect workers' interests and rights.

During the Cabinet's weekly meeting, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said that the government has been humbly listening to the opinions of laborers, noting that the MOL has implemented several major polices to protect labor rights.

Jiang said, however, that there is still room for improvement in areas such as labor education and insurance, urging the MOL to ensure a better working environment for all laborers.

May 2, 2014    carltanong@


Soon wages will drop lower because the businessman from big, medium and small business will drop sharply, causes by the DPP green croc's inspire anti trade, anti Nuke 4, anti-nuclear into disturbances for political thirst.

Let’s see that soon the factory will transfer to foreign country. Many thanks to the DPP green croc's because electric bill will shoot-up as will fuel and gas.

REMEMBER.
Many big businessman have come here to invest to do business and say Taiwan business are unstable now and soon the electricity bill will shot-up and can't afford to pay higher wages to their employee and fear that Taiwan will becoming unruly into civil unrest, compliment from the DPP green croc's.

Soon it is Taiwan worker will migrate to work in foreign country and become OFW.

Bye bye to Taiwan as member of the 4 tiger's. RIGHT Tsai? You are a foreign train economist. Haha. It will be a very HARD NEXT SHOT 2016. So don't play StUpid ball game with your DPP green croc's 老大.
May 2, 2014    clantoh@
Pretty crazy!
May 2, 2014    ludahai_twn@
Opening to China's economy since the Chen administration is partly responsible for the stagnant wages. Ma's administration has overseen the greatest expansion of wealth inequality in Taiwan's modern history. Ma's policies benefit his rich friends and the Chinese and continue to harm the middle class and working class in Taiwan. A whole generation is being lost and it needs to be reversed NOW. Unfortunately, it will take a new government in 2016 to begin that process.
May 4, 2014    factsplease@
On the surface, since coming into effect in 2011 Taiwan's exports of items to China on the early harvest list have grown by a sizable 35 percent, outpacing overall growth of exports to China of 6.3 percent. This seems to indicate that ECFA has had a positive impact on boosting the export of Taiwanese products to China.

However, increased sales cannot be equated with improved competitiveness. According to PRC Customs statistics obtained by Common Wealth Magazine (April 2014), the market share of the 539 Taiwanese cross-strait export items on the reduced tariffs list has declined in each successive year since ECFA.

The situation is much different among the 267 items Taiwan opened to China on the "early harvest list." Although over the past three years the growth rate of China's exports to Taiwan (25.8 percent) is lower than the overall growth rate of Taiwan's exports to China, the market share of Chinese products in Taiwan has leapt from 24 to 30 percent since ECFA went into effect.

In other words, the critical truth behind all the statistics is that it is an unrealistic illusion to look for China to "yield benefits" to Taiwan via free trade. In the face of intensifying international competition, the lowered tariffs that free trade agreements bring have never been a panacea for "saving exports" or "rescuing" Taiwan's economy.
May 4, 2014    fan^tsai@
Trade pact(s) with China opened "more" of China's market to Taiwan than Taiwan's market to China, but China gained by far the greater benefits. You can't say the services pact opens X sectors to Taiwan but only Y sectors to China. It's hogwash to make primitive comparisons like that. You have to look at which sectors will be affected and how.
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Protesters demonstrate in front of the Ministry of Labor (MOL) headquarters in Taipei, yesterday. (CNA)

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