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Toll protesters enter Transportation Ministry
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-30 05:18 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Supporters of highway toll collectors entered the Ministry of Transportation briefly Friday in a protest against their dismissal.

The government ended manual toll collection earlier this year, replacing the employees with an electronic system managed by the Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co., a company in Douglas Hsu’s Far Eastern Group.

Friday’s incident reportedly led to fears of a repetition of the March 18-April 10 occupation of the Legislative Yuan and the March 23-24 invasion of the Executive Yuan by student protesters.

About 40 former toll collectors showed up in front of the ministry, but a small group of student supporters succeeded in entering the building, shouting slogans and causing a short-lived commotion. Security guards pulled down metal gates to prevent further intrusions, reports said.

Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih regretted the incident, adding he hoped supporters of the toll collectors could act rationally. He said he also respected the right of the toll collectors to protest and he would hear their grievances.

Four students entered the site of a discussion panel attended by Yeh and top executives from Taiwan’s airlines and shouted “the country has to settle the toll collectors,” interrupting a speech by the head of the Civil Aeronautics Administration.

At the same time, dozens of former toll collectors wearing orange held up placards with the same text. They said they would start camping outside the building from June 8 until June 13, when the ministry was scheduled to present the results of a study on how to solve the toll collector issue.

The protesters rejected the ministry’s claim that there were no vacancies to place the toll collectors, saying that 96 toll stationmasters and their deputies had been found new jobs with several companies and organizations under the ministry. Officials responded that the stationmasters were civil servants, while the collectors were contract workers.

A total of 941 toll collectors faced unemployment, while 456 would have to receive new functions from FETC before the end of June. Of the latter group, only 101 were already working in their new positions, with a further 64 already recruited but not yet having started work.

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