Consensus needed before teachers can strike: Labor Ministry
May 12, 2014, 12:03 am TWN
TAIPEI -- A social consensus is required before teachers are given the right to go on strike, the Ministry of Labor said Sunday after education officials and parents voiced opposition to the idea.
The ministry said it will invite scholars, experts, school officials, teachers and parent groups to discuss the issue, and will only revise the law after a consensus is reached.
The ministry said recently that it was mulling a plan to give teachers the right to strike, a move that was met with disapproval by the Ministry of Education and parent groups.
Under existing laws, teachers in Taiwan are allowed to form unions but are not allowed to go on strike.
Deputy Education Minister Chen Der-hwa said he was opposed to the proposed amendment because teachers have a unique role and their going on strike could hurt students.
Wu Fu-pin, president of the National Alliance of Parents Organizations, agreed, arguing that schoolchildren's rights should be protected and that teachers should be treated as government employees because over 90 percent of teachers in elementary and junior high schools teach in public schools.
Wu Chung-tai, vice president of the National Federation of Teachers Unions, contended, however, that Taiwan's human rights will fail to meet international standards if its teachers are deprived of the right to strike.
He did say though that the standard for teachers to go on strike should be stricter than that for workers in the private sector and that strikes should only be used as a last resort and after a certain percentage of teachers have agreed to it.