The pic and article are from the Taipei Times

In an editorial entitled, “Why not call them slaves” found in the Taipei Times, the writer goes off a bit on how foreign workers in Taiwan are treated.

…the council seems to think that foreigners still have it too good, and are rewriting the rules to please big business, all the while defending token “measures” that defend the rights of workers who are being abused or otherwise taken advantage of. It is as if the Kaohsiung MRT riot never happened.

Speaking of which, it is instructive that the council is washing its hands of the 700 mostly Thai laborers who were here at the time of the riot and who have been or will be sent home, contracts not renewed. This is an act of retaliation by the Kaohsiung City Council, which has made sure that the workers got their comeuppance. Result? The MRT project is now short of labor to the tune of 400 workers.

Yeah, the project will now have to rely on Taiwanese workers. I wonder if they would put up with the same bullsh** that the Thais had to endure. Not likely.

We also note with disgust the council’s intention to abolish the minimum monthly wage of NT$15,840 (US$483) for foreigners. This will increase mistreatment of workers — many of whom are already forced to go into years of debt by thug labor brokers to have the privilege of working here.

Did you know that it costs a lot of money for most of the laborers coming here? Ones that I’ve personally spoken with say it amounts to about a year of their salary. Is Taiwan really such a nice place to work?

The logic for the minimum salary reduction was that some, unidentified employers cried the foreigners were being paid more than the locals. Could it be true? Could the companies really be so fair in their approach of mistreating all labor and paying them nearly the same low wages? Again, not likely. It’s obvious the politicians are serving the bottom line of big business at the cost of creating an environment for foreign laborers that will likely become even worse.

This whole business about new IC chip integrated ARC cards makes little sense as far as preventing crime. As far as forgery, sure, it may help with that. But was that such a big problem to begin with? If it really is going to cost the country 15 million dollars US dollars to change, then I would hope it is for a really good reason, not just pleasing the IC chip makers.

There are a lot of negative things to speak of here, and it is obvious the whole system, from the overseas recruiters, to the rights of the laborers while they are staying in Taiwan need to be changed. Come on Taiwan, step up and be an example of what a good host country should be, not an example of the opposite.

About the Author

I am a cultural geographer by nature, and now a photographer, videographer, musician, and webmaster.

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