National holidays slated for elimination as part of labor reforms should instead become monthly long weekends, members of the Economic Democracy Union said yesterday.
“We hope that this idea might resolve the ongoing controversy,” said union executive secretary Chen Guan-yu (陳冠宇), who protested outside the Presidential Office Building with a handful of other demonstrators.
“This could kill two birds with one stone: protecting the interests of workers while helping local economic development,” he said, adding that workers have only seven long weekends per year, including Labor Day.
Seven national holidays are to be cut as part of the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) amendments that are aimed at reducing regular working hours.
“We can choose to continue to observe national days, while moving the actual time off to other dates to ensure long weekends,” Citizen of the Earth Taiwan consultant Tsai Chung-yueh (蔡中岳) said.
“The tourism industry relies on Chinese tourists, but numbers have declined because of Beijing’s policies. Increasing the number of domestic holidays could be a great way to spur tourism and help the industry without government subsidies,” he said, adding that government should mandate that the time off should be on Mondays or Fridays.
“For extended holidays that are longer than three days, people are more likely to go abroad than travel locally,” he said
The holidays that should be changed should be open to public debate, he said.
Several national holidays slated for elimination have been criticized as being out of touch with national priorities, such as continued observation of Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) birthday.
Meanwhile, about a dozen members of the Workers Struggle Alliance marched from their tent outside the Legislative Yuan to present a petition to Presidential Office officials, calling for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to participate in a hearing they are to host today, before an official legislative public hearing on the administration’s proposed amendments is held tomorrow.