Taipei mayor hopeful Lien promises more labour protection

Taipei mayor hopeful Lien promises more labour protection
Sean Lien and his wife Patty Tsai.

Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien yesterday released his labour policy, which promises unemployment benefits for first-time job-seekers and more protection for dispatched workers.

The Kuomintang (KMT) hopeful said that if elected, his administration will offer a monthly sum of NT$6,000 in unemployment benefits for young people who are looking for their first jobs for up to six months.

Such benefits are part of a labour policy meant to expand employment protection, helping young job-seekers, interns, and the physically and mentally challenged people, Lien said at a Taipei rally of his supporters from labour groups.

Lien said he is looking to prevent dispatched workers from being manipulated.

He said government offices under his administration will reduce the proportion of dispatched workers to the regular staff, but at the same time state clearly all the rights and duties for dispatched workers in the employment contracts.

Dispatched workers have often complained about being manipulated by the employers and the agencies that assign their work. They do the same work as regular employees without the same pay or benefits.

"We absolutely cannot let the dispatched workers system be abused and turned into an unfair structure where the employers make big money and the laborers suffer," said Lien.

More protection will also be given to vocational students doing internships at companies, he said, adding the terms of the contracts signed between the schools and companies for internships will be publicly posted online.

Companies that could provide more job opportunities for the physically and mentally challenged will be offered incentives to set up operations in Taipei, Lien said.

The city government will also provide more legal and financial support for laborers and labour unions, he added.

Meanwhile, the number of headhunting cases newly registered with Taipei's employment services centers rose sharply in September, while the number of newly registered job-seekers went down slightly.

The city's labour authorities said the number of job openings freshly registered with the centers in September came to 7,940, rising 45.3 per cent compared to August's figure - the biggest monthly increase so far this year, the officials said.

The number of newly registered job-seekers went down 4.41 per cent to 4,121, they added.

The officials noted that many of the job openings in September were for "professionals."

The unemployment rate in Taiwan has been around 4 per cent in recent years, but a report recently submitted to the Legislature by Labor Minister Chen Hsiung-wen notes that risk of unemployment is increasing as a result of changes in the economy and the job market, according to the Central News Agency.

The report, which Chen will explain to lawmakers at a meeting tomorrow, says that as globalisation intensifies competition, the labour market is accommodating more flexibility and employers are more apt to hire "atypical" workers, which will result in unstable employment and expose laborers to higher risks of unemployment.

The report says more protection should be sought for such atypical workers.

At the same time, the government must seek ways to keep the nation's talent to prevent an exodus of skilled workers and professionals to other countries, the report urges.

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