Written by Doris T. Chang. Among all the gains made by Taiwanese women in the past century, achieving leadership roles in the political arena is perhaps Taiwanese women’s greatest achievement. During the Japanese colonial era, women had no right to vote. However, after lifting martial law in 1987, Taiwan emerged as a vibrant democracy. Due to political parties’ commitment to nominating more qualified women candidates for elections in the late 1990s and after that, the percentage of women elected to Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan reached 42 per cent in 2020 — the highest in Asia. This is equivalent to the percentage of women legislators in most Scandinavian countries. But Taiwanese women’s achievement in the political arena would not have been possible without making significant progress in their educational attainment throughout the twentieth century.
Lessons from the Strike by Taiwan Railway Workers
Written by Kuei-Chih Yang. In 2018, the Puyuma Ziqiang train derailed on Taiwan Railway, and then in 2021, the Taroko overturn accident occurred again on Taiwan Railway. Two major railway accidents happened one after another within three years. Many innocent lives were lost, and the safety management of Taiwan Railway was questioned. In March 2022, the Taiwan government proposed a draft of the “Act for Establishment of State-owned Taiwan Railway Co., Ltd.” to respond to the social demands of reforming Taiwan Railways since the accidents.
Eliminating the Criminal Source of Human Trafficking in Cambodia
Written by Yi-hsiang Shih. Human trafficking is nothing new to the world, yet, the term certainly receives much more attention than ever in 2022 Taiwan. Taiwanese people generally do not see themselves as victims of human trafficking. However, the cases of human trafficking in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, suddenly received extensive attention in 2022. Many of the victims in these cases were characterized as young people in Taiwan under low wages and unstable jobs and whose economic life had been affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic since early 2020. To survive, these young people are easily lured by relatives and friends or false job information and become the main target for criminal groups. They are often deceived into working at the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (the scamming compounds) in Cambodia, eventually becoming “commodities” exploited by human trafficking groups.
Cross-border Movement of Labour between Taiwan and the Philippines: A Taiwanese NGO Worker’s Perspective
Written by Yi-Yu Lai. Lennon Wong is the director of a shelter for migrant workers in Taiwan. Before joining the shelter in the early 2010s, he was already a labour activist and worked in the Chinese Federation of Labour and the First Commercial Bank Union. Although his prior work was not directly relevant to migrant workers in Taiwan, his engagement with the labour movement may have started with the issue of migrant workers from Southeast Asia. As a result, we may thus understand the cross-border movement of migrant workers between Taiwan and the Philippines through some of his observations.
The Interaction between Taiwan’s Indigenous and Migrant Workers: Lessons from Construction Industry
Written by Hsuan Lo. Translated by Yi-Yu Lai. In Taiwan, a narrative concerning the opposition of migrant and Indigenous workers appears to be a continuing source of contention. In 1997, director Ming-hui Yang released a documentary, “Please Give Us a Job.” One of the film’s impressive scenes depicts an off-duty Indigenous worker sobbing uncontrollably in front of the camera while lamenting the employment difficulties caused by the introduction of migrant workers. In 2016, Chen Ying, a DPP legislator from the Puyuma Indigenous community, brought this issue back into the public eye by highlighting the impact of “illegal migrant workers” on the employment of Indigenous workers. Unfortunately, the notion that “migrant workers take jobs from Indigenous workers” has become deeply ingrained.
Labours of g0v: Rethinking Work from the Perspective of Data Activists
Written by Aaron Su. How does such civic tech activism – whose results have indeed been transformative – proceed amidst limited resources and a wide variety of training and vocations? Beyond the material outputs of g0v, we must also not forget what activists and scholars have had to say about the distribution of infrastructural or emotional labour within grassroots or activist communities. There are members whose caretaking, organizing, and managing help to reproduce the bare conditions for activist work in the first place. Others have further written about the particular costs of serving as a digital activist, noting that such practices often intensify demands on members in ways inflected by class background, gender, and other social factors.
Falling Through the Cracks of Care: Southeast Asian Migrant Workers Navigating Through Healthcare in Taiwan
Written by Shao-Yun Chang (張韶韻) and Hang-Tang Chen (陳翰堂). Since their labour was first viewed as a supplement to the domestic labour market, Southeast Asian migrants have become indispensable to the manufacturing, agricultural, fishing, and care industries over the last three decades. While the initial foreign population was primarily Thai and Filipino workers, Vietnamese and Indonesian workers are now taking over factory jobs, farm work, and caring for seniors and the disabled.
Raise the Minimum Wage Now To Fix Taiwan’s Lopsided Economy
Written by Roy Ngerng. Taiwan’s minimum wage — and wages as a whole — have been severely depressed over the last two to three decades in spite of years of high export and profit growth. Not increasing the minimum wage will violate workers’ rights and place an unfair burden on their livelihoods..
Matsu Migrants in Bade, Taoyuan City
Written by Cheng-Chung Wang. In Taiwan, we rarely see Matsu in the textbooks, maps, or other materials we’ve been exposed to since childhood, let alone how much we know about Matsu people. Some of us may be unaware that there are many descendants of Matsu migrants living around us. Their moving and settling experiences are very attractive stories that deserve to be told.
Care work in Singapore and Taiwan: Beyond ‘Migrant Maids’ and Female Employers
Written by Lynn Ng Yu Ling. From the domestic caregivers in both locations, I gather that although there are important differences in the hiring criteria for employers, the root problem of employers having the upper hand in an asymmetrical working relationship remains unresolved. On the whole, it is harder for Taiwanese families to hire a ‘migrant maid’ (wai yong) than in Singapore, and several differences in the hiring process seem to indicate that Taiwan treats home care more seriously.
Migrant Workers Likely to Remain at Mercy of Employers under New Residency Plan
Written by Brian Hioe. The Tsai Administration announced new plans to allow residency from blue-collar migrant workers on February 17th, with the Executive Yuan signing off on a plan that would allow migrant workers to secure residency if they are classified as “intermediate skilled manpower” by their employers.
TAIWAN RAILWAYS WORKERS THREATEN STRIKE IN RESPONSE TO CORPORATIZATION PLANS
Written by Brian Hioe. A SIGNIFICANT labor struggle may be upcoming for Taiwanese railways workers. Namely, the Taiwan Railway Labor Union has announced that it may strike next month in response to plans by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) to corporatize the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) as a state-owned enterprise.