Migrant rights groups rallied in downtown Taipei on Monday to protest a government decision that would allow the use of migrant workers as temporary workers in a Changhua industrial park to ease labor shortages, citing occupational safety concerns.
According to the minutes of a Ministry of Labor (MOL) meeting on Feb. 25, the green light was given to a trial plan proposed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to import a total of 50 migrant workers as temporary workers in the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park.
These temporary workers would be managed by a third-party nonprofit group and “dispatched” out to factories in the park during peak production season or when they have to fill urgent orders.
The Migrants Empowerment Network in Taiwan (MENT), a coalition of some 10 migrant rights groups, has objected to the idea, shouting slogans and holding banners during its rally outside the Labor Ministry to voice its opposition.
Weng Chien-wen (翁倩文) of the Hope Workers’ Center stated that using migrant workers as dispatched workers will increase the risk of occupational disasters because they will need to re-adapt to a new and dangerous labor environment every three to six months without having any experience in the job they are assigned to.
The migrant rights groups pointed out that labor shortages are a longstanding problem because of long working hours and low pay, unstable work days, and dangerous working environments that increase the risk of occupational disasters.
Rather than allowing factories to profit from cheap labor, the government should focus on improving labor conditions to bolster full-time employment, the migrant rights groups contended.