Public bus drivers in Penghu staged a large-scale strike yesterday for better benefits and higher pay, catching commuters unaware. Towards mid-day, the drivers Union announced an end to the strike after the Penghu County government made a few promises.
==MEMBERS Penghu Public Transport Workers Union==
Same benefits as permanent workers! Higher sum insured! Larger insurance contribution from employers!
Before dawn, nearly 20 public bus drivers from the Penghu Public Transport Workers Union gathered at a bus depot with banners for an indefinite strike to demand benefits enjoyed by permanent workers be given to their contractual counterparts. To help students get to school, the county government arranged tour buses as a temporary measure.
If there are no buses, it takes longer to commute to school.
==MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC==
At my age, I can no longer drive scooters. I don't know how to drive one anymore. Now that they are on strike, what am I to do?
==WEI JUI-HUNG Dir., Penghu Public Transport Workers Union==
We apologize for any inconvenience caused to the general public.
In response to demands that contractual workers be awarded the same benefits as permanent workers, which include various bonuses, subsidies and higher pay, Penghu County Magistrate Chen Guang-Fu stressed that while the drivers right to strike should be respected, so should the public's right to transportation.
==CHEN GUANG-FU Penghu County Magistrate==
The public's right to transportation should not be overlooked. So we really hope the drivers can go back to work soon, as appropriate under their employment contract, so that the public's rights are protected as well.
According to Chen, public bus drivers in Penghu already enjoy the best benefits in Taiwan and rarely have to work overtime. He said that if the strike continues, it will be dealt with in accordance with items specified in the drivers' employment contract. At mid-day, the Union took the initiative to negotiate with the County Government, and both sides agreed to increase the sum insured for liability car insurance from NT$1.8 million to NT$3 million, of which 70% of the premium will be contributed by the County Government, and 30% by bus drivers. All public bus services in Penghu will resume today.
TRANSLATED BY：JEFF CHANG