Taiwan Training on Migrant Labour Issues
Electronics Watch delivered a two-day training in Taiwan last month for our monitoring partner, Serve the People Association (SPA). SPA runs shelters for migrant workers in the capital, Taipei. SPA's core team, shelter staff and volunteers covered topics including the Electronics Watch Monitoring Methodology, Migrant Labor Issues, Freedom of Association, Health and Safety, Grievances and Due Diligence Legislations.
Participants discussed examples of abuses including:
- Migrant workers paying up to 6,000 US$ in fees to recruitment agents to get to Taiwan. They are still obliged to undergo a week-long quarantine under pandemic rules. Some lose their contract during this time, as brokers prefer to recruit new migrants, thereby earning new fees.
- Migrants from the Philippines having to pay extra for board and lodging, despite their original contract at home waiving these payments.
- Long and unpaid overtime being common for migrant workers, who also complain of not understanding their wage slips.
The current challenge in Taiwan is the opening of borders for migrants willing to pay high fees to agents. The legal prohibition of the transfer of contracts between migrants in Taiwan has left some in forced labour situations. They are not free to resign and move to another employer, unless there is mutual consensus between the employer and worker. Their only other option is to file a complaint backed up by strong evidence to show violation of laws. If factories want to terminate contracts themselves, they implement tactics to encourage the worker to leave, for example by decreasing overtime work and thus total pay. Some of these cases were resolved by intervening NGOs on legal grounds since workers were able to present these transactions as evidence.