Calling for the right to freely change employers in Taiwan if they wish to do so, Hundreds of blue-collar migrant workers took to the streets of Taipei
Holding placards, banners, and large fabric replicas of the country’s Employment Service Act, the 400-plus migrant workers marched from Taipei Main Station to the headquarters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and then to the Ministry of Labor (MOL), in a protest that was organized by the Migrants Empowerment Network in Taiwan (MENT).
Basting their demands though speakers on a truck, the workers called on the government to abolish Paragraph 4, Article 53 of the employment act, which prohibits them from changing jobs in Taiwan, except in extreme circumstances.
“I have really suffered a lot, but I have no right to transfer immediately,” said a 42-year-old caregiver from the Philippines, who asked to be identified only as Mace.
She told CNA that in the 12 years she has been working in Taiwan, she has experienced a lot of problems but has never been able to switch employers.
Currently, Mace said, she is working as the sole caregiver for a 95-year-old woman, who requires 24-hour attention.
“As a caregiver, I get no overtime pay,” Mace said, adding that if she had the opportunity, she would switch to a factory job.
Fajar, an Indonesian community leader and president of the Indonesian workers solidarity organization the Ganas Community, told CNA it is very common for migrant caregivers in Taiwan to work almost 24 hours a day.
“Many do not have time to sleep at night, and the employer nags all day,” she said.