Undeterred by downpour, workers in Taiwan demand more paid leave and security

   Despite heavy rain, thousands of workers shouted labour rights slogans, marching for hours through the capital of Taipei on May 1, 2019.
Despite heavy rain, thousands of workers shouted labour rights slogans, marching for hours through the capital of Taipei on May 1, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI (DPA) - Thousands of workers from across Taiwan on Wednesday (May 1) took to the streets of the capital Taipei, demanding more paid leave and greater labour security.

"We want ... additional public holidays, at least 90-day maternity leave, and paid leave to care for sick parents," Huang Yu-te, secretary-general of the Tainan Confederation of Trade Unions, told demonstrators gathered in a square in front of the office of President Tsai Ing-wen.

Tainan is a city in the south of the island.

Taiwan gives workers only eight weeks of maternity leave, failing to meet the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standard of 12 weeks. Employees in Taiwan also lack paid leave to care for sick parents.

Despite heavy rain, thousands of workers shouted labour rights slogans, marching for hours through the capital Taipei. They waved banners and signs that said "More Paid Leave! More Labour Security!"

According to organisers, Taiwanese people work 2,035 hours a year, which is about 36 working days more than the OECD average of 1,744 hours. In addition, low wages make their retired life difficult. More than 30 per cent of employees in Taiwan receive monthly wages less than NT$30,000 (S$1,321), organisers said.

President Tsai said on Wednesday that her administration will continue to revise labour laws, aimed at ensuring rights and increasing salaries.