The DPP is a Political Party Hostile to Labor
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 7, 2016
Executive Summary: During the 2000 change in ruling parties, the DPP fooled the workers once. Incredibly, it fooled them once again. But workers on Taiwan are smarter than they were 16 years ago. If the ruling DPP does not want to lose its labor base, it must completely reform itself. It must not forget its campaign promises, such as "one fixed day off and one flexible rest day". This is the antidote to labor's long term suffering.
Full Text Below:
Labor unions are unhappy with the "one fixed day off and one flexible rest day" bill that the Tsai Ing-wen government is ramming through the legislature. With students at their side, they have blasted the DPP for betraying labor as soon as they seized power. Seven labor union leaders have gone on hunger strikes. Contrast this with the Sunflower Student Movement 19 months ago. The opposition DPP was exploiting the “anti-China” political atmosphere to discredit the Service Trade Agreement (STA) draft bill, which would have increased employment opportunities for workers. The failure of the bill to pass reduced workers' chances for employment. Now the DPP is attempting to ram through the "one fixed day off and one flexible rest day" bill. It has revealed just how much it exploited students.
The Sunflower Student Movement's grievance was allegedly the government's failure to follow procedure. But as everyone knows, the DPP and other opposition forces were determined to kill the STA. The death of the STA blocked foreign investment in the service industries and reduced employment opportunities. Opening up foreign investment in the service sector may increase competition for Taiwan based companies, but it also increases demand for labor services.
Now that the DPP is the ruling party, it is promoting "one fixed day off and one flexible rest day". Over two years ago it goaded students into blocking passage of the STA. The DPP is effectively cozying up to capital. During the Sunflower Student Movement it cited procedural irregularities as pretext for its obstructionism. But the moment it seized power, it began advocating balance between the interests of labor and capital. It began spouting high-minded rhetoric about political stability and economic growth.
The "Cross-Strait Agreements Oversight Regulations" bill was the handiwork of the Sunflower Student Movement. But once the DPP became the ruling party, it lost interest in it. The ruling DPP thinks that the two sides do not need an STA to begin with. Therefore they have no need for financial cooperation. They even think that ECFA should be frozen.
The ruling DPP would like its New Southern Strategy to replace cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges. But from the perspective of Taiwan's domestic economic and employment opportunities, the New Southern Strategy and the Go West policy are the same. Both policies increase GDP, business revenue, and employer dividends. But neither benefits the domestic market. Neither increases consumption and employment opportunities. First, neither will help workers receive high salaries in Southeast Asia. Second, neither will encourage employers to invest in Taiwan. Both policies are detrimental to labor.
The STA will introduce new service industries that employ local Taiwan workers. Continued financial cooperation between the two sides will enable the Mainland to purchase shares in Taiwan businesses. Taiwan has higher corporate earnings, stricter corporate governance requirements, and better equity than the Mainland. With the injection of Mainland capital, the resulting stock market boom would increase consumer demand and labor wages.
The DPP opposes cross-Strait financial cooperation for emotional reasons. It insists that Mainland capital will swallow up Taiwan businesses. Therefore it must be blocked to protect Taiwan-funded businesses. If this does not constitute pandering to capital, what does? If Mainland capital or Mainland businesses are subject to Taiwan's laws and regulations, and to Taiwan's oversight, businesses may indeed face increase competitive pressure. But will labor be affected? It will not. Instead market forces will increase Taiwan's business innovation and global competitiveness.
The ruling DPP has forced workers to sacrifice their rights and interests. It has characterized Mainland capital as “poisonous snakes and wild beasts”. It has insulted people on both sides of the Strait, and undermined mutual trust. Official economic and trade exchanges between the two sides have been shut down almost completely.
Employers have deep pockets. They can wait until the big picture changes before investing. But labor lives hand to mouth. Their children must study. They must pay off their loans. They must maintain stable incomes. The ruling DPP is dragging its feet while hoping for change. It is flagrantly indifferent to whether labor lives or dies.
Cross-Strait relations under the DPP have now entered the "hot confrontation" stage. Labor has fallen into the cracks. The DPP opposed the STA. It brought disaster down upon the heads of workers. Had the STA been passed in a reasonable manner, how many Mainland companies would have come to Taiwan and hired highly-qualified Taiwan workers? Meanwhile the long awaited champions of labor, upon seizing power, care only for themselves and for capital. Once they are elected, labor becomes nothing more than a stumbling block.
“The working hours bill has forced labor to hunger strike”. This is the slogan adopted by the "2016 Labor Struggle". The new government is pandering to the cartels, while using police to suppress public protests. Contrast this behavior with its behavior as an opposition party, when it opposed the STA. This shows people that the DPP's "opposition to China [sic]" was a pretext. What is behind the DPP's “opposition to China [sic]”, other than “opposition to labor"? What is this opposition, other than pandering to the bosses?
The DPP knows full well that cross-Strait relations must not be frozen. Years of exchanges have merged the two sides' economies and societies. Economic integration once implemented, cannot be undone. Taiwan cannot divorce itself from the Mainland. Once cross-Strait cooperation is ended, Taiwan's economy will decline, and the ruling DPP's core support will evaporate.
More importantly, labor requires more stable cross-Strait relations than capital. Commodity trade cooperation can increase the output of agricultural products, high-quality consumer goods, tourism and medical services. It can increase employment opportunities for Taiwan workers. Trade in services and finance cooperation can directly and indirectly improve labor conditions for local workers.
During the 2000 change in ruling parties, the DPP fooled the workers once. Incredibly, it fooled them once again. But workers on Taiwan are smarter than they were 16 years ago. If the ruling DPP does not want to lose its labor base, it must completely reform itself. It must not forget its campaign promises, such as "one fixed day off and one flexible rest day". This is the antidote to labor's long term suffering.
2016/11/7 下午 08:13:33 主筆室