Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) was roughed up on Friday by members of labor groups protesting against a revision that would cut the national holidays of many of Taiwan’s workers.
Ker was on his way back to his office at noon when he was attacked by labor groups, who splashed water on him and pushed him to the ground during the melee.
The DPP legislative caucus, and the DPP-controlled Executive Yuan and Presidential Office were unanimous in condemning the violence.
“I feel Taiwan’s democracy is coming to an end,” Ker said before attending a coordination meeting on the amendment to the Labor Standards Act, criticizing the civic groups for going “way too far.”
He said he has served in the Legislature for more than 20 years and witnessed the democratic development of the nation, including clashes that often took place when a controversial bill was being reviewed.
But he wondered on Friday whether there was progress and democracy in Taiwan if a legislator can face recall for supporting an amendment or get punched when reviewing a bill.
He said he would not press charges against those who attacked him but said he regretted the way police handled the attack, saying that a majority of policemen stood by during the incident.
The ruling DPP administration wanted to ram a controversial amendment to the Labor Standards Act through the Legislature on Friday.
The measure would cut the number of national holidays from 19 to 12 to offset reduced working hours when a five-day work week is implemented for all workers in Taiwan.
According to the Ministry of Labor, the cut of seven national holidays was intended to ensure all workers (including public servants) enjoy the same number of holidays per year.
Currently, public servants are required to work on the national holidays in question.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel