Migrant Sectoral Party in Taiwan

What is the Migrant Sectoral Party?

[quote]Migrante Sectoral Party, Taiwan Chapter’s Position
on the July 27- 28, 2006 National Conference on Sustainable Economic Development Activity

The Migrante Sectoral Party (MSP) Taiwan Chapter vehemently opposes any anti-migrant and anti-worker proposal that the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) or any business entity wishes to push this coming July 27-28, 2006. The said activity is called the National Conference on Sustainable Economic Development Activity, which is similar to the Economic Development Advisory Conference (EDAC) in August 2001.

What the MSP adheres to is that any National Economic Development Plan must take into consideration the working peoples needs for the protection of their rights, just wages and job security. This will insure that any such plan would inspire the workers to increase their productivity and not the other way around thus ensuring economic development.

During the EDAC in 2001, the CLA through the urgings of capitalist groups introduced flexible working hours on all manufacturing workers that reduced their take home pay and benefits. At the same time, migrant workers in manufacturing and construction jobs had wage cuts from NT$2,500 to NT$4,000 a month in the guise of payment for their own board and lodging.

Related to this the CLA legalized the collection of brokers fees in the guise of monthly service fees on migrant workers of all job categories. Previous to this, the CLA stated that brokers fees were illegal and were collected in the guise of loans. In effect, the migrant workers had to endure two wage cuts when these were implemented in 2002.

Ironically, there is no mention on the conditions of caretakers working in households and in nursing homes and hospitals. The Labor Standards Law does not cover the former including domestic helpers while the said law has covered the latter since three years ago. Most of these workers have limited or no days off. In an initial survey of MSP, 87% of Filipino caretakers and domestic helpers have limited or no days off.

At the same time, all of the migrant workers in all job categories are subject to contract substitution through the rampant practice of making them sign so called side-agreements. They have no standardemployment contract that should be under the protection of the Labor Law and that does not allow any such agreements.

During this year’s National Conference on Sustainable Economic Development, we would vehemently oppose the following proposals of the CLA and Capitalist groups.

Abolishing the minimum monthly wage of migrant workers. Importing migrant workers to do night shift without paying them night differential that is more than what is stipulated in the Labor standards Law Legalizing outsourcing or subcontracting.

For one, the migrant workers are already the lowest paid workers in Taiwan. They are only paid the minimum wage, which has remained stagnant for the last 10 years. At the same time, they had to endure two wage deductions in 2002 when those in manufacturing and construction had to pay for their own board and lodging and all job categories had to pay their brokers. The latter is outrageous, as the CLA has already admitted that what the migrant workers are paying for is actually a management fee.

Other than this the migrants are made to pay the following:

  • Airfare to and from Taiwan
  • Alien Residence Certificate
  • Medical Examinations
  • Health Insurance
  • Medical Insurance

In effect, these extortions on the migrant workers and the proposal to do away with the minimum wage will not contribute to their productivity but would only breed resentment and insecurity among the workers. Especially, so if the actual monthly wage of a migrant worker in the manufacturing industry would only amount to NT$9,618 in their first year of work. What more if the wage is cut further.

The three major strikes organized by the 5,000 Filipino and Thai workers in Formosa Plastics Corporation (FPC) in less than a year is a manifestation of this problem.

With regards to importing migrant workers to do night shift, we will only support this if the workers are paid that is more than what is stipulated in the Labor Standards Law (LSL). At present what the LSL stipulates is that the employer has to only provide an additional meal during night shift to the workers. The migrant workers should be paid the equivalent of what they give to the locals at NT$300 per night.

We are also against outsourcing and subcontracting as this lowers the basic wage and benefits of all workers. This will only lower the purchasing power of the workers that would have a great effect on the economy of Taiwan. At the same time, this will force more workers to be hired as contract or part time workers without the benefits and rights of regular workers. This will only add anxiety to the minds of the workers, as their jobs would be always under threat of being taken away and for migrants of being sent home even when their contracts have not yet ended. This is counterproductive to development.

This is also one of the reasons why many migrant workers are in Taiwan as this has been implemented in their countries of origin.

Furthermore, we would like to propose to the coming National Conference on Sustainable Economic Development Activity the following:

  1. Abolish the monthly board and lodging fee
  2. Abolish the monthly brokers fee in the guise of service fees
  3. That employers pay for the ARC, medical checkups and airfare to and from Taiwan of all migrant workers
  4. That all caretakers and domestic helpers be given mandatory days off and statutory holidays
  5. That all migrant workers be provided a standard employment contract under the protection of
    the Labor Standards Law and that all side agreements should not be accepted.
  6. Abolish the Labor Flexibility Schemes

We have taken up this position because any anti-migrant and anti-worker proposals would be inconsistent with any national development plan. All working people should benefit to any such plan and not only capitalists and other employers.

Migrant and Local Workers Unite to Protect Our Rights, Just Wages and Job Security!

July 27, 2006[/quote]