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Former freeway toll collectors demand MOTC assistance

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A group of former freeway toll collectors yesterday protested in front of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) and demanded that the government help settle the grievances of their group.

On April 22, around 200 former freeway toll collectors rushed into the MOTC Headquarters and occupied the first floor of the hall. The police dispatched more officers to the protest scene yesterday.

The Self-Help Organization of the former toll collectors said that the Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co. (FETC) should have faced a NT$500 million penalty of the MOTC, but the FETC was never fined.

Lin Pi-huang (林碧煌), the head of the Self-Help Organization of highway toll collectors, said that based on the contract between the FETC and the MOTC, all the former freeway toll collectors who agreed to be placed in other jobs should already have been employed by last October, but the FETC failed to fulfill its obligations.

Lin said that the MOTC did not fine the FETC for violating the contract and even postponed the deadline for the FETC to finish placing former freeway toll collectors at new jobs.

“Five months after losing our jobs, the FETC has been setting limits and qualifications when placing former freeway toll collectors at new jobs, like educational background and experiences,” said Lin. “The FETC also deliberately gave us a hard time during the interviews, so we cannot trust that company anymore.”

The Self-Help Organization of the former toll collectors proposed two appeals: the government should take over the new freeway toll system, ETC, and the MOTC should make arrangements for unemployed former freeway toll collectors.

The MOTC launched a new electronic freeway toll collection system at the end of last year, which caused over 940 freeway toll collectors to lose their jobs. FETC, the company that is in charge of the new system, promised to place all the toll collectors in new jobs.

No-threshold Jobs to Be Provided

National Freeway Bureau (NFB) yesterday said that the FETC will provide 295 jobs that will not require any educational background or experiences for former freeway toll collectors to choose from.

According to the NFB, the FETC will hold three job-matching conferences at the north, central, and southern regions of Taiwan on May 9 to introduce those jobs to the former freeway toll collectors who are willing to be placed in new jobs.

The NFB said that former freeway toll collectors can also refer to the job openings which are provided by the FETC as well. These are posted on the bureau's website and require interviews.

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A group of former freeway toll collectors protests against the Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co. (FETC) in front of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) in Taipei, yesterday. (CNA)

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