Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July 2014, 14:54 GMT

2012 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Taiwan

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 6 June 2012
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2012 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Taiwan, 6 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fd889228.html [accessed 24 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 23,000,000
Capital: Taipei

ILO Core Conventions Ratified:

Not a member state

Reported Violations – 2012

Murders: none reported
Attempted Murders: none reported
Threats: none reported
Injuries: none reported
Arrests: none reported
Imprisonments: none reported
Dismissals: none reported

Documented violations – actual number of cases may be higher

Introduction

Teachers have finally been given the right to form trade unions.

Background

In 2011, workers protested an increasing number of deaths from severe overwork and demanded the amendment of Article 84-1 of the Labour Standards Law. That article states that working conditions for certain jobs can be established through negotiations between employer and employee, excluding them from articles that set maximum hours, overtime and holidays. In another protest, workers called on the government to raise the minimum hourly wage to NTD112 (USD3.86), instead of NTD103 as planned.

In late-November, the president, in the midst of a re-election battle, proposed changing the work week from 84 hours every two weeks to 40 hours a week after meeting representatives from 10 labour unions. The government's proposal would also make it harder for companies to put employees on unpaid leave.

Trade union rights in law

Changes to labour laws have strengthened the protection of trade union rights. Most recently, the Labour Union Law was amended on 1 June 2010 and brought a number of significant improvements. Teachers are now allowed to join unions and migrant workers now also have the right to take part in unions' director and supervisor elections. A number of workers, including fire-fighters and medical personnel are still denied the right to organise, and civil servants may only form associations.

In 2009, the Settlement of Labor-Management Dispute Act was also amended to better secure the right to strike. The procedures for calling a strike, including the voting system, were facilitated, and the conditions and areas under which a strike can be called were clearly specified. While strikes are not allowed in the case of "rights items", which are defined as items already agreed upon e.g. in collective agreements, the Act provides for judicial procedures to resolve such disputes whereas previously only mediation was available. In addition to teachers, civil servants and public employees are not allowed to go on strike.

Link to additional detailed information regarding the legislation on the ITUC website here

In practice

Trade union rights for teachers at last – but with limitations: After years of waiting, the legislative amendments that came into force on 1 May allowed the creation of an education union. The National Federation of Teachers' Unions (NFTU) was born, replacing the National Teachers' Association created 12 years earlier, with 80,000 members. Teachers do not have the right to strike, however.

Violations

AIG insurance subsidiary fined nearly 10,000 dollars: In January, Nan Shan Life, the Taiwanese subsidiary of the American insurance giant AIG, was fined TWD 300,000 (USD 9,930) for stripping the union's spokesperson of his title of regional manager following comments he made in the media about the sale of the company. The labour department authorities in Taipei recognised that this punishment was discrimination against him in his role as trade union spokesperson.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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