Statement of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) on the recent amendment of the Labor Standards Act in Taiwan
24 January 2018
The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) expresses full support to the workers and people of Taiwan who are protesting against and calling for the immediate repeal of the recently approved amendments of the Labor Standards Act.
Under the new amendments, (a) workers can be asked to work 12 days in a row, with a mandatory two days off over two weeks; (b) workers’ break hours will be reduced from 11 to 8 hours between work shifts; (c) their overtime hours will be increased from 46 to 54 per month, yet workers will not be paid more for overtime work; (d) their annual paid holidays can be delayed by one year; and (e) they can be compensated for a “flexible” rest day, in which workers can opt to work during their day off if their employers ask them to (but will pay them based on actual amount of time worked).
Some of these amendments reflect what have reportedly been existing practices of some companies and factories in Taiwan. Tragically, the Legislative Yuan, by approving the amendments, will only legalize what are considered exploitative and anti-worker practices.
These labor amendments open the floodgates for more exploitation of workers, both migrants and locals. For example, employers can legally eliminate overtime payment while not reducing working hours. All workers, especially migrant workers, are at a losing end with a labor law that works against their interest.
Neoliberal globalization is at play here with capitalist profits being placed ahead of workers and people’s rights. What little protection migrant and local workers have in Taiwan is swiftly and mercilessly reduced with every passage of a law that is supposed to serve everyone, not only the privileged few.
The revised labor law definitely works at the detriment of workers’ rights. The capitalists’ development only means the enslavement of workers.
We support and join the call of workers and peoples in Taiwan to immediately and unconditionally repeal the Labor Standards Act’s amendments.
Eni Lestari, chairperson