The Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) expresses support and solidarity with the Indonesian fisherfolk in Taiwan who are calling for the immediate cancellation of monthly wage cuts, worth NT$2,500, based on food allowance and accommodations costs.
The said wage cuts, the APMM believes, are not only unnecessary but are an added burden to the fisherfolk. Such expenses should be shouldered by their employers and not be taken away from the already meager salary that they receive.
The growing protests by the Indonesian fisherfolk in Yilan are an expression of their resistance to such an exploitative measure. Both the Indonesian government through its Indonesian Economic and Trade Office to Taipei (KDEI) and Taiwanese authorities like the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) should heed this demand on top of the many concerns and issues that the fisherfolk are calling for.
Their immediate action is in order as some protesting fisherfolk have already been fired by their employers for protesting and scheduled for repatriation. Such a reason for contract termination should not be condoned as it is part of their civil liberties and freedoms to freely assemble and express.
Furthermore, while the laws in Taiwan are aimed to protect the rights and welfare of migrant workers, the recognition by the CLA of side contracts (also known as addendum to the contract) apart from the standard or model contract allow employers and brokers to circumvent the laws and enact provisions that may be deemed below the model contract. Examples of such provisions are migrants receiving salaries lower than what is determined in the model contract, additional yet unnecessary expenses being deducted from the salaries of workers, etc.
Thus, the APMM calls on the CLA to stop recognizing these side contracts.
Finally, the APMM calls for the abolishment of the broker system in Taiwan. Cases received by the APMM through its partner organizations in Taiwan point to the impunity of brokers to deduct from salaries of migrant workers, demand higher placement fees and even cause for migrant workers to be fired from their places of work and repatriated back home. Brokers hold migrant workers by the neck and are rarely prosecuted for their wrongdoings.
Migrant workers reserve the right to work in an environment where they can freely express themselves, receive just wages and exercise their rights without fear of discrimination. Both the Executive Yuan and the CLA can help create this environment by heeding the demands of the migrant workers.
Reference: Ramon Bultron, managing director Contact number: (852) 27237536