Taipei, A draft bill that seeks to safeguard the rights of cultural workers passed an initial review by the legislative Education and Culture Committee on Thursday.
The proposed Culture Basic Law will be forwarded to a plenary session of the Legislature for deliberation, without any need for party caucus consultations.
Culture Minister Cheng Li-chiun told reporters that she hopes the bill will pass its third and final reading during the current legislative session.
Drafted by the Ministry of Culture, the bill was approved by the Cabinet in January and forwarded to the Legislature for deliberation.
It aims to protect the rights of cultural workers, enrich Taiwan's cultural diversity and uniqueness, and establish government principles and guidelines for cultural development, according to the draft.
In an earlier interview, Cheng said her department recognized the unique nature of the work in the field of arts and culture, which called for special attention to the labor rights of people employed in those areas.
The government should give recognition, subsidies and assistance to arts and cultural workers who are making important contributions to the society, Cheng said, quoting from the draft bill.
She said the proposed law is also aimed at helping those workers deal with issues stemming from the current Government Procurement Act.
On Thursday morning, members of several cultural groups gathered in front of the Legislature, calling for speedy passage of the bill and better protection of the rights of cultural workers.
Employees in the field of arts and culture earn only NT$37,000 (US$1,187) per month on average, according to Hsieh I-hung secretary general of the Taipei Art Creator Trade Union, who was at the rally.
He said he hoped the bill would be passed soon to address such issues, including the working environment for employees in that field.
Also speaking at the rally, Wu Shang-yung chairman of the Association of the Visual Arts in Taiwan, urged the central government to provide more stable funding to art galleries and cultural establishments at the local government level so that they can become sustainable.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel