Bill on proposed holiday cuts to be returned to committee

Legislators of four party caucuses reached a consensus Wednesday to send back a controversial amendment bill on holiday cuts to the legislative review committee, according to Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全).

The decision was reached after the caucuses scrutinized the minutes of the Oct. 5 committee meeting during which the proposed amendment to the Labor Standards Act was approved in one minute, Su said.

The bill, which seeks to reduce the number of national holidays from 19 to 12 per year, has drawn strong protests from labor unions and groups.

Ruling Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said the four party caucuses agreed to return the bill to the committee for a second review that must be completed within three days, after which it will be sent to a legislative plenary for deliberation.

He said the caucuses decided against a one-month period for cross-party negotiations on the bill.

Meanwhile, four labor union representatives who launched a hunger strike on Nov. 4 against the proposed amendment bill said they would continue their protest action until their demands were met.

The amendment bill, which cleared the legislative Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee Oct. 5, proposes that the number of national days be reduced from 19 to 12. This will compensate for the reduced working hours when a five-day workweek with one mandatory day off and one “flexible rest day” is implemented, according to the bill.

Labor rights groups, however, are against removing the seven holidays from the national calendar and have called for a clause-by-clause review of the bill in the committee stage.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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