All About Taiwanese Workers

CLA mulls plans to prioritize Taiwanese over foreign workers

Thursday, Dec 18, 2008

Homeless man seeks refuge along the train tracks.

Homeless man seeks refuge along the train tracks.

The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) said yesterday that it would soon review its policies on foreign labor in an effort to safeguard job opportunities for Taiwanese and ensure protection of their rights in the current economic environment.

In a statement yesterday, the council said that its policy on the recruitment of foreign workers was predicated on the nation’s unemployment rate, the labor shortage rate and the demands of domestic industrial development as a whole.

UNEMPLOYMENTThe council said that with the unemployment rate continuing to climb, it was closely observing the national employment situation and would give priority to Taiwanese workers for employment opportunities and good labor conditions.

 

In view of recent violations by businesses that have exceeded their legal quotas for hiring foreign workers, the council said that it would strengthen its random examinations of businesses and be on the lookout for major changes in the number of foreign workers hired.

An anti-Taiwans President Ma Ying-jeou protester holds his portrait marked with the figure 633 that means his unexecuted pledge, 6 percent economic growth, US$30,000 per-capita income and under 3 percent unemployment rate, during a rally, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008, in Taipei, Taiwan.

An anti-Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou protester holds his portrait marked with the figure "633" that means his unexecuted pledge, 6 percent economic growth, US$30,000 per-capita income and under 3 percent unemployment rate, during a rally, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008, in Taipei, Taiwan.

PRIORITIESThe council said that the current policy of admitting foreign workers cannot be allowed to have a negative impact on labor conditions and job opportunities for Taiwanese.

 

To this end, it said it would look at current procedures for recruitment and management of foreign workers, promote employment services and provide vocational training for Taiwanese to help them weather the unemployment crisis.

The basic principle behind the council’s policies will be to ensure that foreign workers do not rob Taiwanese nationals of job opportunities at home, said Tsai Meng-liang (蔡孟良), director of the council’s Foreign Workers’ Administration.

The council said that there were 365,000 foreign workers in Taiwan as of the end of March, which represented 3.5 percent of the nation’s total working population.

Among the foreign workers, 198,000 worked in the industrial sector while the rest worked as caregivers.

Most foreign workers in Taiwan come from Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. Many work in so-called “3D” jobs — dangerous, dirty and difficult.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHELLEY HUANG

 

What do the people do? — Groups ask CLA to crack down on salary violations

A man sports a headband with the flame symbol of Raging Citizens Act Now! at a protest outside the Council of Labor Affairs in Taipei yesterday.

A man sports a headband with the flame symbol of Raging Citizens Act Now! at a protest outside the Council of Labor Affairs in Taipei yesterday.

Members of several workers’ associations gathered in front of the Council of Labor Affairs building yesterday to protest alleged violations of minimum salary regulations by companies who force employees to take unpaid leave.

The protesters called on the council to crack down on businesses that violate the law.

Many businesses have announced pay cuts in the past few months, with some asking workers to take unpaid leave to help cut costs. Last week, the council announced that firms were allowed to pay full-time employees less than the minimum monthly salary of NT$17,280 by forcing them to take unpaid leave. But after widespread criticism, it reversed its position on Tuesday.

The protest was organized by Raging Citizens Act Now! (RCAN) and gathered more than 50 representatives from several labor associations, including the Confederation of Taipei Trade Unions and the Taiwan International Workers’ Association.

The protesters carried signs and shouted: “Bad economy, workers are betrayed,” “the government should help workers negotiate” and “pay cuts disguised as unpaid leave.”

“We are giving one week for [CLA Minister] Jennifer Wang [王如玄] to review businesses and immediately penalize any that violate the law,” RCAN spokesperson Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶) shouted. “Violators should not be eligible for bailout funds from the government.”

The protesters also demanded that employment stimulus programs, such as the ‘get to work immediately’ plan that applies only to the unemployed, be extended to workers forced to take unpaid leave.

“[The CLA] has many tools to stimulate employment, but so far, only verbal promises have been made. The CLA needs to show real commitment,” she said.

The protesters threw rice bowls at the ground to symbolize the CLA’s failure to help workers keep their jobs.

“Our rice bowls will eventually break,” Lai said.

They also threw rice at the CLA building.

 

So then – what can we as people do to help / correct this?  —  Education is key to stopping poverty cycle: foundation

SLIPPERY SLOPE: Government statistics indicate that 90,846 households slid into the low-income category in the third quarter, bringing the total figure to 218,180
By Loa Iok-sin

Education is the key to helping a family stay out of poverty, the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families (TFCF) said yesterday, adding that if given the opportunity, a family in need could achieve success and one day help others.

A woman who wished to be identified by her surname, Hsieh, shared her story at a press conference held by the foundation in Taipei.

Hsieh said she and her husband had run a pottery factory in Miaoli County with around 100 employees that made millions of NT dollars a month.

But everything changed when her husband died of cancer in 1986, she said.

“I closed the factory within a few years because I didn’t know how to run a business and started working part-time jobs as a janitor and caregiver,” Hsieh said.

But she had four children to feed.

“At the worst of times, I only had NT$10 a day to spend on meals,” Hsieh said. “At the time, NT$10 could buy a small pack of noodles, so I would cook the noodles with vegetables that I grew myself. We lived like that for two years.”

Things turned around for Hsieh when she joined a family development program organized by the TFCF in cooperation with the Chinatrust Charity Foundation.

“The 23 TFCF centers across the country would pick out ambitious families from the 42,000 families under their care. [It] would then ask them to write a development proposal and put [the families] in skills training, financial management and child-parent interaction courses,” Chinatrust Foundation staffer Lin Mei-yin (林美吟) said.

After one year of training, families that achieved their goals and had not missed any of the classes would receive a cash award, Lin said.

With the job training she had, Hsieh set up a cleaning company.

“Starting from a one-person firm, I was eventually able to hire 10 employees — all from economically disadvantaged families,” Hsieh said with a smile.

Later, she opened a bakery, with all profits going to local elementary and junior high schools to offer scholarships to students from low-income families.

During the four years since the program began, more than 30,000 people have been helped, Lin said.

“At this moment, we have the largest number of people living in poverty in a decade,” said Paul Shiao (蕭琮琦), head of TFCF’s social work department.

Statistics released by the Ministry of the Interior indicate that an additional 90,846 households fell into the “low-income” category in the third quarter of this year, bringing the total figure to 218,180.

Shiao said the number of economically disadvantaged households and individuals in the TFCF’s poverty support service “have reached record highs since the TFCF was first created 58 years ago.”

“We believe that education is the best tool to bring families out of poverty,” he said.

“However, many economically disadvantaged families cannot afford education for their children, so there’s a sort of ‘poverty cycle,” Shiao said. “That’s why we initiated this program four years ago, hoping to enable more families living in poverty to stand up on their own.”

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~ by Lan on 2008 ThuUTC2008-12-18T04:56:15+00:00. 15.

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