Factory workers’ rail track protest vents anger at Council of Labor Affairs

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In the afternoon of the 5th of February, hundreds of factory workers made their way to the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) to hold their own year-end banquet and general meeting. Sixteen years ago, after the factory owner vanished, the government subrogated severance-pay claims and gave repeated assurances that there would be no attempt to recover the money from the employees. However, 16 years later, the government has begun suing employees to recover the sum of money paid out - severance pay that workers believe they rightly deserve.

The workers’ main issue is that instead of investigating factory proprietors, the government has decided to attack this group of elderly workers, pushing a huge debt onto their shoulders. To highlight the enormity of this financial burden, the group chose to eat a meager faire of sticky rice and pork ball soup at their year-end banquet, while awaiting the decision of the Employment Stability Fund Management Committee of the CLA, held prior to the Lunar New Year, where a solution for severance payment for workers in plant-closing cases is being sought.

On the day, Council of Labor Affairs Deputy Minister Hau Feng-ming (郝鳳鳴) announced the outcome of discussions from the 10th floor press room, choosing not to directly inform workers. He said the payment plan is in accordance with the age and economic conditions of individual workers, and that there will be a provision for reducing loan amounts, provided that the money is repaid. The plan can be roughly divided into three categories:

Category one - low-income households of an age of 65 years or above, which face economic difficulties will be subsidized 90%

Category two - low-and middle-income households will be subsidized 60%

Category three - earnings of 2.5 times the minimum standard of living of the city and county may be subsidized 30%, however a 10% discretionary space will be reserved.

The factory workers state that receiving severance money is their right and have flatly rejected the plan. They insist that the government should be dropping lawsuits taken out against the workers and attempting to recover the money from the employers, rather than trying to enforce a ludicrous discount program for repayment of money that rightly belongs to the workers. Workers expressed their anger at the government’s arrogance by peppering the CLA with eggs. After it became clear that CLA Minister Pan Shih-wei (潘世偉) would not appear to provide an explanation, the group felt there was no alternative but to put stage two of the protest into effect. In this desperate bid to raise the profile of this case, at 8.20PM, the group defiantly descended onto the rail tracks of Taipei Main Station where workers lay across the tracks to block all train traffic.

PeoPo 公民新聞 by 公民行動影音紀錄資料庫

Factory workers’ rail track protest vents anger at Council of Labor Affairs
URL:http://www.peopo.org/news/108527

(以下是中文對照)
關廠勞工怒吼不滿勞委會方案臥軌抗爭(上)

2月5日下午,百位關廠工人們首先在勞委會舉辦尾牙以及會員大會。這群老工人16年前遇到老闆落跑,不給退休金資遣費,當年由政府代位求償,並再三保證不會向員工追討這筆錢,16年後政府卻對他們提起訴訟,要求償還這筆他們應得的退休金資遣費。問題是政府卻不跟欠債的大老闆追究,反倒是緊咬著這群老工人,大家身上背著數十萬的債務,因此也沒能夠什麼好的飯菜,吃著最簡單的油飯跟貢丸湯,為的就是在等待勞委會在農曆年前召開的『就業安定基金管委會』,將討論出關廠工人貸款案的解決方案。

當天勞委會副主委郝鳳鳴在10樓記者室公佈討論結果,沒有直接對關廠工人說明,只對媒體宣佈方案。這個方案是依照每位關廠工人年齡及經濟狀況不同,以補助減免為前提的要他們繼續還款。大致分成三類:

第一種是法定低收入戶或65歲以上但經濟困難者補助90%

第二種是中低收入戶補助60%

第三種是收入達內政部公布各縣市最低生活水準2.5倍可補助30%,並且保留10%的行政裁量空間。

關廠工人當場表決不接受。他們認為退休金就是他們應得的權益,政府應當向資方追討,關廠工人堅持一個訴求,就是撤銷對工人的告訴,而不是向他們遞出打折施捨般的方案,執意要他們還款。在見證不到政府的誠意之下,關廠工人們蛋洗勞委會表達他們的憤怒。並走路前往台北車站準備進行下一步行動,也就是在車站臥軌,決意將行動拉高層次,佔領月台。他們當時希望勞委會主委潘世偉出面與他們說明,但官員不與工人直接接觸。因此他們在晚間8:20分的時候一舉跳下月台,工人們就是就地躺下,阻擋火車通行。

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Factory workers’ rail track protest vents anger at Council of Labor Affairs

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