Taipei--Trains were running normally Sunday, a busy holiday as married daughters visit their parents on the second day of the Lunar New Year, despite a walkout by more than 200 Taiwan Railway Union members in protest over overwork, staff shortfalls and management's failure to heed their demands.
Another 200 union members also refused to show up for work a day earlier, Lunar New Year's Day, after talks between union and management broke down over measures to relieve workloads and increase staff and benefits.
However, enough staff were mobilized to show up for work after Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) Director-General Lu Chieh-shen (???) urged employees to "jointly maintain the TRA's good tradition" of providing services to the public during the busiest time of the year.
On Jan. 24, members of Taiwan Railway Union filed a legal complaint against Lu for forcing railway workers to work during the Lunar New Year holiday from Jan. 27-Feb. 1.
In a Facebook post, Lu said he has "actively taken up" union members' requests, which have also won "positive responses" from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Executive Yuan.
As for union members' legal action to not work during the holiday, Lu said work shifts have been set as usual and pay scales will not change before an agreement can be reached between the two parties.
Their requests to take leave during the period will be reviewed based on the "actual overall manpower needs," he added, indicating that "uncooperative" workers may be punished for their walkout, which he claimed was aimed at "disrupting passenger transportation."
Some TRA stations had no workers at all as a result of the union action. Still, operations remained normal and no accidents were reported on any of the TRA lines, including those linking to Pingxi in New Taipei, Neiwan and Liujia in Hsinchu County, Jiji in Nantou County and Shalun in Tainan.
Union members began their "on legal leave" walkout on Friday, causing a temporary shortfall in manpower, but the TRA managed to transport a total of 506,342 passengers that day, the day before the start of the Year of the Rooster.
The TRA issued a statement the following morning saying that it will discipline workers who took leave without permission, while also commending those who chose to remain on the job.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel