Party calls for referendum to repeal labor law amendment

2018/01/12 14:03:40 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Image taken from the official Facebook page of the Social Democratic Party

Image taken from the official Facebook page of the Social Democratic Party

Taipei, Jan. 12 (CNA) Taiwan's Social Democratic Party (SDJ) met with several groups in the country on Friday to organize a referendum aimed at repealing the newly passed amendments to the Labor Standards Act.

At a press conference, SDJ convener Fan Yun (范雲) said the groups, including the Taiwan Alliance for Advancement of Youth Rights and Welfare, Tainan Sprout, and Taiwan Pioneer Labor Association, had gathered in the hope that the power of the public will bring about a repeal of the controversial amendments to the labor law.

Fan said the amendments, which were passed Wednesday, were based solely on the will of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party with disregard for public opinion.

The SDJ and the groups, therefore, are seeking a referendum, which will ask the question, "Do you agree with abolishing the amended portions of the Labor Standards Act that the president announced on the said date of said month in 2018?" Fan said, adding that the question was still a rough draft.

Under the new amendments, employees can be asked to work 12 days in a row and to work shifts with only eight hours of rest in between, pending approval from the relevant government agencies.

The amendments also allow for a maximum of 54 hours of overtime per month, up from the current 46 hours, but caps it at 138 hours over a three-month period.

According to SDJ representatives, the goal is to obtain at least 2,000 signatures by Chinese New Year for a petition and hopefully have a vote by the end of the year.

Fan said she was urging people 18 years and over to use their voices to protest the amendment and to vote when the referendum is put forth, thereby demonstrating the will and power of the public.

"Just because the Legislature has passed the amendment, it does not mean it has passed," she said. "We still have a chance to fight back."

Under the revised Referendum Act, which took effect last Friday, the minimum voting age has been lowered from 20 to 18.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Kuan-lin Liu)
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