Foreign workers protest for rights in Taiwan

The News International, Pakistan, Monday 29 December 2003—Ziqa`ad 05, 1424 A.H.

TAIPEI: Some 600 blue-collar foreign workers took to the streets on Sunday in a landmark first protest for labour rights in Taiwan.

Organisers said the protesters, mostly from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, represented a minority group of some 300,000 foreign labourers whom they said were paid little attention by local society despite their long-time contribution to the country's development.

This is the first step as for the first time foreign workers are standing up bravely for their rights, said Susan Chen, chairwoman of the Taiwan International Workers' Association. We hope people also recognise the contributions of foreign workers and give them due respect and treatment when they are seeing their burden lessened in taking care of family elders and kids, Chen added.

The workers asked the government to review the current policies, by lifting a restriction barring foreign workers transferring from one employer to another and implementing a direct country-to-country employment system to stop exploitation by manpower brokers.