Labor groups protested at the Executive Yuan after a Constitutional Court Interpretation voided a law that gave female employees special treatment regarding night shifts. In response, the government said protection for female workers would not be affected.
On Aug. 20, the Constitutional Court released Interpretation No. 807, which declared the first part of Article 49 of the Labor Standards Act unconstitutional. The article states: "An employer shall not make his /her female worker perform her work between ten o'clock in the evening and six o'clock in the following morning." On Aug. 27, labor groups protested at the Executive Yuan, saying the interpretation worsens the labor position of female workers.
Chiu Yu-hung, Secretary-General, Taoyuan City General Union:” (The judge) completely ignored this. Why can't we all rise higher together, instead of all being dragged down together?”
The groups say the entity that applied for the interpretation did so without the consent of unions, which is not a surprise as the interpretation weakens the position of unions.
Hung Ching-fu, Chair, New Taipei City Trade Union:” It puts unions at a huge disadvantage. You can revise laws to change this, and equal rights are a wonderful thing. However, you need supplementary measures in place. You can't just abolish something with a single word.”
Weng Wei, Lawyer:” You say you're giving workers more freedom. You say you're giving women the right and freedom to pursue work. Take a look at the current situation, will you? Labor and capital aren't coming to the table as equals. The freedom you're giving women is the freedom to self-destruct.”
In response, the Ministry of Labor said protection for female workers would not be affected.
The ministry also said employers still cannot force female workers to work night shifts and unions still have the legal power to negotiate labor conditions and benefits with employers.
In addition, the ministry said it would consult with experts to clarify legal applications