Friday, May 1, 2015

Workers try to juice up support for rights on Labor Day

Workers try to juice up support for rights on Labor Day

2015/05/01 21:27:40

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) Labor unions in Taiwan staged a protest march in downtown Taipei Friday to vent their anger at what they described as neglect of their rights by the government and various political parties.

They staged skits to underscore their appeal for shorter working hours, no overwork, pay raises as well as a ban on dispatch workers.

The workers gathered at the Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office in the afternoon. Before the start of the march at 2 p.m., protesters threw smoke bombs at the Presidential Office, complaining that the government has made the island a terrible mess.

Police, who put the number of protesters at 8,000 during its peak, called for restraint as they began to march toward the nearby legislature.

The workers shouted slogans and threw paper-made guava balls symbolizing a "guava check" (芭樂票, a Taiwanese expression meaning "bad check") to underscore their claim that the legislators specialize in making promises they can't keep.

"The Legislature is only good at giving bad checks. No political parties have ever been good to Taiwanese laborers." Chuang Chueh-an (莊爵安), leader of the march said.

Chuang said the political parties have cheated the Taiwanese people, but "the laborers are not so easily cheated."

He said that civic groups have awakened after the local government elections in November. But even after labor-related bills have been passed, no political parties, including the ruling Kuomintang or the major opposition Democratic Progressive Party, or other minor parties, have unveiled complementary enforcement measures for these bills.

He was referring to the lack of penalties or monitoring mechanisms to give the bills teeth, which he said would only make the enterprises look for loopholes.

The workers took to the streets to express their voice to various political parties and vowed to use their ballots to show the will of the people in the presidential and legislative elections next year.

The protest ended at around 3:40 p.m. 

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