Rail workers strike will not affect rail services: MOTC

Taipei-- A planned strike by certain railway workers during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday is not expected to affect rail services during the festive period, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said Thursday.

According to Deputy Transportation Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (???), the strike will mainly cover train station staff and will not include railroad engineers, and the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) will continue to communicate with the workers and will train additional staff.

He said the TRA has already begun to take action to meet the workers' demands, such as increasing its workforce and including operation bonuses as part of the basic salary.

The strike was initiated by the Taiwan Railway Union, which comprises mostly train station staff, who said they will exercise their legal right to stay off duty from Lunar New Year's Eve on Jan. 27 until the third day of the Lunar New Year on Jan. 30, which is a national holiday period.

The union has accused the TRA of cutting overtime pay and refusing to hire more people to cope with a decrease in allowable work hours under the new five-day work week policy.

In a news conference held Thursday, the union said the TRA has repeatedly exerted pressure on union members, threatening that those who refuse to work during the holiday period will face punishment for being absent without leave.

It said the decision to go on strike was made legally through a vote by its members and that the TRA does not have the authority to overrule the decision.

Instead of suppressing the union and coercing workers to work during the holiday, the TRA should negotiate with the union to find ways to improve work conditions, according to the union.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel