Bookings for the holiday train tickets on the TRA's Eastern Trunk Line began at 12 a.m. on Dec. 21. While the Taiwan Railway Labor Union is again mulling a holiday strike, MOTC Minister Wang Kwo-tsai promised to keep the holiday transport as scheduled during the Lunar New Year.
Wu Chang-chih, Secretary, Taiwan Railway Labor Union: “If railway safety issues are not resolved, we will go on a complete strike during the Lunar New Year holidays. We need to have a good talk with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.”
Bookings for the Lunar New Year train tickets began on the 21st. The Taiwan Railway Labor Union, however, is dissatisfied with not being consulted on safety issues relating to the corporatization of the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) and is mulling a holiday strike. Lawmakers asked the Transportation and Communications minister during a legislative session whether rail replacement bus service will be provided again.
Chen Jiau-hua, Legislator (NPP): “So there won't be rail replacement buses during the Lunar New Year holidays? Is that right?”
Wang Kwo-tsai, Minister, MOTC: “There won't be a situation with no trains available.”
Chen Jiau-hua, Legislator (NPP): “There won't be a situation with no trains. Is there a possibility that train schedules will be affected? Yeah? ”
Wang Kwo-tsai, Minister, MOTC: “No, it will go according to schedule.”
Lee Kun-tse, Legislator (DPP): “It looks like the strike will happen, from Minister Wang's response. I think citizens will question and wonder what the situation will be. ”
Wang Kwo-tsai, Minister, MOTC: “Trains should be operating without any problems during the Lunar New Year.”
MOTC Minister Wang Kwo-tsai said the ministry is now communicating with the union to work things out. Specifically, union members said they were not consulted in regard to the proposed vehicle-maintenance regulation under the corporate structure. The latest regulation stated that the TRA is to pay for the first and second levels of maintenance, whereas the MOTC is to pay for the third and fourth levels of maintenance. As a result, the TRA will be operating at a huge loss of having to spend NT$2.1 billion each year on maintenance. The union said the MOTC should take on more responsibility and allocate budget into paying for the second level of maintenance as well.
Wang Kwo-tsai, Minister, MOTC: “Negotiation has been smooth and both sides have been rational. Both want the best for TRA. It's kind of like a family argument, so let's get it fixed soon.”
The MOTC said the proposed vehicle-maintenance regulation is not final and they will continue communicating and coordinating with the union so that holiday transportation can go according to schedule.