Foreign Workers

In the May 1 edition of the “Taipei Times” on page 2, a CNA report said that President Chen, when asked about “the issue of foreign workers” (whatever that means), responded by saying that “the priority must be to take care of domestic workers.”

In one instant he completely sidestepped the entire issue.

He went on to say, “Although the number of foreign laborers cannot be reduced to zero immediately,” (implying what Chen would really like) “it has steadily decreased over the years.” (Implying that the government can avoid “the issue,” whatever that means.)

To sum up, Chen doesn’t really give a shit about foreign workers, whoever they are, and he thinks that they are slowly going away. Here’s a man that really knows how to bury his head in the sand.

I ask: As Tawanese continue to become more prosperous, are they slowly going to get rid of their domestic helpers, construction workers, etc? I think not.

In addition, many foreign white-collar workers are considered by the government to be under Taiwan’s Labor Standards Law, not to mention various other xenophobic government agencies.

President Chen is our enemy and he has just declared war on foreign workers. He basicly considers all of you foreign workers in Taiwan an “issue that is just going to slowly go away.”

Unless the foreign workers form a union here in Taiwan, their rights will continue to be trampled on.

For example: All foreign workers pay tax here, but almost none of them will ever receive a pension payment from the government for one very simple reason – they’re foreigners and they will all slowly go away.

You’re lumping together two very different groups of people who are, unfortunatley, lumped together under the same law.

Chen is referring to laborers from Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia et al. Many bemoan the fact that they ‘take jobs’ away from Taiwanese. In reality, if Taiwan’s 400,000 some-odd foreign laborers were ‘immediately reduced to zero’ as Chen said, it would not make for 400,000 new jobs for Taiwanese, because Taiwanese won’t work for NT$100 per hour.

The idea of this group of people forming a union is ludicrous, if not impossible given that most are here through agencies that hold their passports

Originally posted by Stogy: President Chen is our enemy and he has just declared war on foreign workers. He basically considers all of you foreign workers in Taiwan an "issue that is just going to slowly go away".
You give him too much credit. Chen is neither intellectual nor sophisticated. He couldn't speak English to save his life. (His Mandarin [img]images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img] ain't so hot either...) He was a very good student, but a very good student in the educational system of Taiwan's past does not necessarily indicate intellect. Yes, he graduated from law school, but specialized in only Maritime law, and only briefly. He first distinguished himself in the Legislative Assembly for throwing wadded up paper balls at the "Old Bandit" legislators representing ditstricts in China. Getting arrested was the most noteworthy event of his early political career. He was also not known by the folksy "A-Bian" back then either - that was something he affected after becoming mayor. He's no Vaclev Havel. Or even a Clinton. He could probably hold his own with Bush.

I got a kick out of this article in the Taipei Times today. Chen was moved by the plight of a Turkish girl with a facial tumour and directed the Foreign Ministry to pay for her medical care in Turkey, as well as travel expenses within Turkey for her parents. The deputy secretary-general to the president, Joseph Wu (吳釗&#29166 ) , said that “the case shows Chen’s tight control over Taiwan’s foreign affairs”. Yeah, he’s a freakin’ foreign policy genius. Henry Kissinger look out. Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell, watch and learn! Lee Denghui most be so proud. Not.

quote[quote] If you are a bushiban teacher just arrived to the island you may make around NT$40,000/mo for a 20-hour workweek. Taiwanese earn an average of NT$5000/mo less for working twice as many hours. [/quote]

NT$5,000/mo? When you say average, are you figuring in infants and pensioners? The average worker makes more than NT$5,000/mo.

Originally posted by wolf_reinhold: NT$5,000/mo? When you say average, are you figuring in infants and pensioners? The average worker makes more than NT$5,000/mo.
Wolf, read the post again. Two Cents says $5000K a month [b]less.[/b] That makes it an average wage of 35k/month. [img]images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img]

Seems to me they take the same approach as Malaysia: too many foreign (odd) labour workers in the country, quite a lot of them illegaly and taking away the jobs from the locals. So the government started hunting them down - literally.
Expatriates are not meant by this though.

But the point, at least in Malaysia, is that locals don’t want to do the jobs: plugging coconuts or working at a construction site or as maid is not considered “suitable” down there.
But what if all the workers leave? Or even kick out all the expats as some locals are asking for (supposingly they don’t need “us”)?

I bet the economy and thus the country would go downhill faster than you can say shit, the locals not being capable enough and in Malaysia they do have an attitude problem, too (mainly the Malay, not so much the Chinese or Indians).
Haven’t been that long in Taiwan to make a real comparision but maybe similar applies here, too?

Some countries can, at this point of time, not just do without foreign resources.
If they start talking about it let them talk, because it will just be that.
But also consider and be aware that’s part of the job being an expatriate: transfer the knowledge to the locals - and when this is done you need to move on, willingly or being forced.
For me that’s part of the deal and I have no problem with that.

Oops, confounded bifocals…

Some points of clarification:

  1. All employees of any nationality in Taiwan, in most kinds of work, are covered by the Labour Standards Law and other labour laws, and have the same rights to go to the relevant government authorities for help.

  2. Employees of all nationalities have equal rights to join labour unions, although workers of foreign nationality do not have the right to become union officials. However, my friends at the Labour Rights Association told me that they have never heard of a single instance of foreign workers actually joining a union. Presumably the main reasons for this are the language barrier and fear of victimisation by employers.

  3. Although there are many differences between the situations of blue and white collar migrant workers, we have many things in common, too.

  4. Use of the Oriented web site is not confined to “Westerners.”

By the way, did anybody see that bearded Caucasian protesting against the lousy employment practices of Trade Winds/Interface Global on the Mayday workers’ demo? That was your very own Juba!

Chen Da-bien has long-since forgotten to grass-roots voters and the many foreigners in the media who supported him and helped get him elected. I shook his hand and wished him well just before the election – now I regret that day. He’s just a small-minded local-yokal. He should be back down on the farm somewhere chewing his bean-lang.

The first thing he did after being elected was break his biggest promise to environmentalists and grass-roots voters by allowing another nuke plant to be built in an earthqake zone not so far from the largest population center in Taiwan. But I’m sure GE is happy.

Then he broke his promise to the entire working population of Taiwan by not fully instituting the 5-day work week, blaming the economy – an excusss that we’ve heard many times before from the KMT rulers, who it appears, are still ruling.

Employers and the authorities still fully reserve the right to unjustly jerk around foreign white-collar workers with their one-year-contract policy. No matter how hard you piss-heads work, your contract may not be renewed for no good reason at any time.

Companies abuse contract renewals by not giving foreign workers additional vacation days, reasoning that every time the contract is renewed, it’s like the foreigner is being rehired – even if he’s worked for the same company for 20 years.

A foreign worker who has worked for the same company or a number of companies for a number of years in Taiwan, and who has paid into the company’s pension fund, will never see any of his pension money.

The laws in this country are totally skewed against all workers, and even more so against foreign devils – and even more so against foreign laborers.

The unions here in Taiwan are next to worthless.

And President Chen, the man of the people, is Da-bien in my estimation.