Taiwan Railway labor union may take action on Lunar New Year holiday

The labor union of the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said Thursday that it would not rule out the possibility of taking action -- taking leave en masse or staging a strike -- in the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday if the government fails to give a positive response by the end of this year to workers' demands for improved working conditions.

Previously, more than 1,000 TRA conductors and station staff signed a petition to take leave en masse during the current four-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday that will end Sunday. However, they later called off the action, taking into account Wednesday's hit by Typhoon Meranti.

However, a group of TRA staff staged a sit-in in the lobby of the Taipei Main Station, saying that so far, the government has not given any concrete response to their demands, and it is possible the labor union will take action over the Lunar New Year holiday, which will start from Jan. 27 and run through Feb. 1.

According to the unhappy conductors and staff, they have called for a minimum eight-hour break between shifts for train crew working on the road and for a full day off each week for station staff. They also asked to be paid extra for working at night, a benefit they currently do not enjoy.

In addition, they have also demanded that the TRA hire more staff to allow them to take leave in a reasonable way.

Wang Chieh (??), head of the TRA labor union, told reporters that due to the deteriorating working conditions, the employees cannot get sufficient rest, which compromises transportation safety and is likely to hurt passengers.

Wang said that so far, the TRA and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications have not come up with any concrete measures to improve the working conditions.

He added that recent meetings convened by the TRA have failed to work out any results to meet the workers' demands.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel