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Subject: Migrants Cry Out: Don't Bleed Us Dry, Stop Extorting Fees on Us!

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Date Posted: 00:50:58 09/12/05 Mon

Migrants Cry Out: Don't Bleed Us Dry, Stop Extorting Fees on Us!

The revelation made by Taiwan¡¦s Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) that what the foreign workers pay as service fee is actually a management fee only shows that the CLA is biased towards the employers and the brokers. It does not give a damn to the rights and welfare of the migrants.

The CLA made this revelation on September 6 when it conducted a dialogue with NGO¡¦s. This meeting was called by the CLA in the wake of the recent Thai MRT workers uprising in Kaohsiung because of their poor working and living conditions. The CLA has attributed this to the poor management of their broker firm. This has caused a huge uproar in Taiwan on how migrant workers are treated and resulted also in CLA chairperson Chen Chu to resign her position by taking blame on the incident.

Essentially, the management expenses are being charged to the foreign workers to entice employers¡¦ especially local and foreign manufacturers to invest in Taiwan. This is because the pay of the migrants is lower and the management¡¦s responsibility and accountability of these employers are being passed on to the brokers. Practically, migrants in Taiwan are being used as sacrificial lambs for the greedy big corporations and are offered as incentives to local and foreign businesses.

In effect, the CLA favors and protects the interests of the employers especially the big ones owned by local and foreign capitalists rather than in ensuring protection for the foreign workers. It is thus very clear that the labor import policy of Taiwan is geared in using the migrants to work in the dirty, difficult and dangerous jobs and to serve the greedy interests of foreign and local corporations to earn super profits.

This was very clearly illustrated in the Thai workers uprising in Kaohsiung on Aug. 21. What were highlighted were the inhuman and unjust policies of the brokers and the corruption relating to the hiring of such business entity? What was left out or not given prominence was that the broker in effect was the employers¡¦ instrument in controlling its workers so that they would not dare complain. The employer exploited its own workers by not paying the migrants fully for their overtime work and for letting them pay the management fee, which should be shouldered by them in the first place.

The CLA should not only reexamine its policy of letting the migrants pay for their employers management expenses but should totally abolish this practice. Employers especially of big firms should fully shoulder these costs.

On the other hand employers of individual caretakers and domestic workers should not shoulder the management fee in the guise of brokers fee as they are already paying the brokers NT$25,000 ¡V NT$30,000 a year. If the CLA insists otherwise it would look very clearly that they are only protecting the brokers¡¦ interests.

We also call on the governments of sending countries to make sure that this absurd policy be stopped. We will mobilize the migrant workers to ensure that this be carried out

Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants

September 10, 2005

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