Labor Rights Movement in Taiwan

Dear All,

I received the following message which I am passing on; it deals primarily with the labor rights movement in Taiwan specifically in terms of mainland China.

One might, however, broaden the issue as well to consider the issue of Taiwanese companies operating (sometimes with impunity) in the PRC and the alleged abuse of many foreign workers on these shores. We have been discussing mainly the difficulty “Westerners” (i.e. those from mainly industrialized countries) have in procuring ARCs, work rights, etc., but perhaps we should also discuss whether there is (or should be) a role for migrant workers from less developed countries in our discussion (I am not saying there should be a role in what is, after all, a list designed to promote mainly English-speaking, educated foreign residents’ rights and needs), only that, given the degree to which Taiwanese labor practices (whether on the mailand or here, in cram schools or in factories) are indicative of the environment we live in, it would stand to reason that broadening the discussion would be beneficial to our own needs as well (apologies if these issues have been addressed earlier).

-------Original Message:
I have recently been corresponding with a nonprofit group in Hong Kong which monitors labor rights in Hong Kong and on the mainland. My particular interest is worker’s rights in American-owned companies and joint partnerships in the P.R.C. esp. footwear and garment businesses like Tommy Hilfiger. More to the point, do any of your contacts in Taiwan have contacts in the Taiwan labor movement? It seems like they would be a good source for info on human rights in general – and labor rights in particular – on the mainland. Any leads you can provide, however circuitous or indirect, will be much appreciated!

That is a good description of most of the Filipino/a workers in Taiwan. The reason we don’t see much sign of them on these noticeboards is that they are too busy slaving away and most likely have no access to computers.

Anyway, you might advise your friend to look at - there are loads of Taiwan labour-related links on that page.

If you are looking for Taiwan labor experts, I’d look at the Academica Sinicia. Dr. Linda Arroyo is well known for her activism and labor connections plus the Green Party.

Dr. Frederic Deyo is another prominent Asian labor expert as well with a lot of research in this field. He teaches at SUNY Brockport.

Dr. Sally Rigger is another leading Taiwan labor and politics expert whom teaches in North Carolina and is another excellent starting point for Taiwan labor activism.

If your activist is serious, you’ll need to put a little mental effort into it for Taiwanese labor affairs. But these Taiwan labor experts are contact points for those whom are truly serious.

Linda Arrigo

I realise that this is an old thread, but for any who may have an interest. Mnay of the foreign workers in factories come here under a contract arrangement. However, once they arrive at the airport they are often presented a second contract, which effectively relinquishes their rights to days off and their right to refuse overtime.

While the Taiwanese government is making moves to improve the factory workers situation, it still ignores some of the fundamentals.

Home carers are in a completely different ball park and have even less protection under the system. Some literally become slaves and get no days off and sometimes can not go out.

While there are institutions to help these people, by far, too many people are getting away with too much.

Policy compounds laborers’ woes … 2003300022