Politics & Protest SinoBeat

Video: Taiwan activists lie down on Taipei railway station tracks in protest of labour law changes

Protesters in Taiwan occupied railway tracks at a train station on Monday evening in protest of controversial changes to labour regulations spearheaded by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party government.

The proposed relaxation of the Labour Standards Act would allow employees to work a maximum of 12 consecutive days, as opposed to six under the current law.

Taiwan Labour Standards Act law

Protest against the Labour Standards Act amendments on Tuesday. Photo: Civil Media via Facebook.

The minimum time period between shifts would be reduced from 11 hours to eight, while the maximum allowed amount of overtime work would be increased to 54 hours per month.

Labour groups have criticised the amendments as stripping away workers’ rights. The opposition Kuomintang has joined forces with lawmakers from the New Power Party – of the same independence-leaning “pan-green” camp as the ruling Democratic Progressive Party – in resisting the bill.

The Taiwanese legislature began an extraordinary session last Friday to debate and pass the bill, which received preliminary approval from its Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee last December.

Hunger strike

Five New Power Party legislators began a hunger strike over the weekend outside the Taipei presidential office in protest, which they say lasted for 60 hours until they were cleared out by police in the early hours of Monday.

 

【#公庫即時】1/8 19:15
勞基法修正案從今(8)日開始在立法院審理,勞團發起遊行與夜宿立院外行動,強烈反對本次修法。

目前勞團成員與群眾約十人於台北車站南下方向臥軌。另也有聲援群眾持續於月台聚集。

19:20
警方二度舉牌。抗議者持續高呼:勞工佔領、第三月台、需要聲援
——-
我們經費來自公眾支持,您的相挺,讓我們作更好報導,捐款挺公庫:http://donation.civilmedia.tw/
贊助公庫出品:http://0rz.tw/j6vXM
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Publié par 公民行動影音紀錄資料庫 sur lundi 8 Janvier 2018

That evening, around ten labour activists laid down on railway tracks outside Taipei Railway Station in protest, and were removed by police around an hour later.

Within the Legislative Yuan, lawmakers have attempted to negotiate details of the bill, with the New Power Party proposing to explicitly stipulate rights of employees to reject changes to overtime hours imposed by their employers.

Last month, President Tsai Ing-wen defended the amendments in a speech to her party, saying that they would not change the overall number of regular working hours, calculations of overtime payments, and the principle of two days’ rest per week.

Tsai Ing-wen

Tsai Ing-wen. Photo: Tsai Ing-wen via Facebook.

She said that the changes were necessary to allow for small and medium-sized companies – which provide the majority of employment in Taiwan – to undergo successful transitions.

“We hope to give employers and employees a degree of flexibility,” she added. “I have demanded that the administrative authorities strictly regulate and prevent any instances of overwork.”

Video: Taiwan activists lie down on Taipei railway station tracks in protest of labour law changes