400 migrant workers march for right to change jobs in Taiwan

18-Jan-2022 Intellasia | TaiwanNews | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Migrant workers marched through the streets of Taipei on Sunday (January 17) to demand the right to freely change employers.

Over 400 migrant workers of various nationalities set out from Taipei Main Station, walked past Democratic Progressive Party headquarters, and ended the march at the Ministry of Labour, reported CNA. The marchers held signs in multiple languages that read, “I want the freedom to transfer to new employers.”

The protest, which was organised by the Migrants Empowerment Network in Taiwan (MENT), called for the abolition of Article 53, Paragraph 4 of the Employment Service Act

In response to the protest, the MOL’s Workforce Development Agency (WDA) issued a statement in which it wrote that migrant workers can change jobs at the end of their contract if they go through a publicly registered employment service agency or if the original employer consents to them changing to a new one. If the original employer has violated the law, the migrant worker can sign an agreement with a new employer to become their employee.

However, the WDA stated that except in special circumstances, migrant workers cannot independently change employers because it could lead to unstable labour supply and increase the cost of bringing migrant workers while also impacting the care for people with severe disabilities. It emphasised that changes to the law would affect employment stability and therefore require public consensus., which bars migrant workers from changing employers except under extreme circumstances, such as the death of their employer, the closing of the factory where they work, their boat sinking, and other situations not caused by workers’ actions.

Once in front of the labour ministry, migrant workers erected a bamboo fence representing the current law restricting them from changing jobs. One protester shouted, “I want the freedom to transfer!” in Mandarin multiple times before others collectively pushed the fence to the ground.



Category: Taiwan

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