Labor groups to call for referendum, wage hikes at Labor Day march

Taipei, The May 1 Action Alliance, made up of trade and labor unions from around Taiwan, announced Monday that appeals for a referendum on labor rights and wage hikes will be the focus of the upcoming Labor Day march in Taipei.

The annual protest will begin on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office, with protesters marching to the Legislative Yuan a few blocks away, the alliance said at a press conference.

The focus of this year's event will be "opposition to over working, demanding a referendum, higher wages and fighting for labor rights," announced the alliance, which is made up of civic groups including Solidarity, the Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions, the Taiwan Federation of Financial Unions and the National Federation of Teachers Unions.

The Action Alliance strongly opposes the Labor Standards Act revisions, which became law in January and has been blasted as "backsliding" on labor rights. The alliance proposed a referendum so the "vicious revisions" can be overturned.

Labor Rights Referendum Alliance member Hsieh Yi-hung (???) said efforts are being made to solicit public endorsements for the proposed referendum, which will also carry an appeal for a new law that regulates national holidays and the return of seven holidays that were canceled as part of the January revision.

The promotional campaign will be promoted at the Labor Day march in the hope that 300,000 endorsements are collected before the end of August so that the proposed referendum can be held at the same time as the local elections on Nov. 24, Hsieh said.

Calling for the monthly minimum wage to be raised from NT$22,000 (US$744) to NT$28,000 and a 30 percent hike over three years, Taiwan Higher Education Union researcher Chen Po-chien (???) noted that Taiwan experienced accumulated economic growth of more than 20 percent from 2007-2016.

During that 10-year period, the price index rose 9.1 percent but the regular earnings of employees in the private sector only grew 8.3 percent.

"Taiwan workers should enjoy a 10 percent wage hike every year, meaning a total of 30 percent in three years," Chen argued, "this is no more than a basic requirement."

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel