May Day to bring more protests
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-30 10:19 AM
May 1 is Labor Day and this year’s demonstration by labor activists could fall victim to the recent spate of such activities and end up being viewed as just another protest. This year labor groups are calling on the public to take to the streets to express their support for "No low wages and no layoffs" to counteract growing trends toward rock-bottom wages and non-traditional patterns of labor use that minimize costs to employers but leave laborers with shrinking paychecks.

Chiang Wan-chin, Director of the Taipei Industrial Union, is in charge of parade organization this year. Chiang explains that this year’s Labor Day demonstration will involve six joint demands including better working conditions and protection of workers' livelihood; opposition to excessive free trade regulations and resistance to creeping labor flexibility; complete enforcement of the three basic labor rights and protection of trade union autonomy; guarantees of a dignified old age with full retirement benefits; protection of people’s properties and resistance to improper financial policies; a halt in the release of public stocks and opposition to the privatization of state-owned enterprises.

Chiang criticized the spread of "atypical labor usage patterns" that are eroding the rights and benefits of working through layoffs, outsourcing, time-based wages, unnecessary contracts and other practices that are undercutting wages to levels not seen in decades. He noted the growing gap between rich and poor – a trend so unsettling that at least one government agency will no longer include the ratio in its regular economic reports – all of which add up to a vicious cycle that if affecting all workers. Chiang said the government should stay alert to employer tactics like layoffs that are prohibited under contracts with labor organizations.

This year’s May Day parade will start from Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office at noon. Marchers will go first to the Council of Labor Affairs office and may then link up with protesters from anti-nuclear groups to offer mutual support and better attract public attention.

The Central Weather Bureau is predicting unstable weather conditions for Thursday, with a good possibility of thunderstorms and cooler temperatures in the northern and eastern portions of the island. Expected temperature ranges will be from 21 to 25 degrees Centigrade in the north and 24 to 28 degrees in the center and south of the island. People are advised to dress warmly and carry rain gear if they go out on May 1.

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