Taiwan Church News
June 27 – July 3, 2016
Flying Is Not A Disease
Recently a friend of mine, who was sent by his company to work in Germany, posts on his personal Facebook a lot of funny and interesting photos and articles, which were so different from what we have seen in our daily lives here in Taiwan. Another day, this friend of mine posted a photo of an empty broad office and noted with a sigh: “A really good job is off duty at 4:00 p.m. and make a big office empty at 5:00 p.m.!”
As Taiwanese is traditionally a hard-working people, which see hardship as natural and recognize loyalty as obligatory, it is no wonder nowadays young men are blamed as “the generation of strawberry” and asked to “take tough adversity as good medicine”. But, after seeing the photo of “a duty-off at 4:00 p.m. and an empty office at 5:00 p.m.” in an advanced German, Taiwanese might be surprised to learn a progressive and abundant society could be achieved without even taking any formidable measures via “blood, sweat and tears”.
The reason why the European developed countries still hold dear their people’s rights and benefits in labor, in spite of paying the price of an explicit cost increase in production under a strict legal regulation and assurance of human rights, is that they have recognized the value of “life is not work only”!
Overtime work after duty-off is not only a source of misfortune, but also will damage the human health and distort the relationships between the employed and the employers, parent and children and etc, so the rights and benefits of the employed is a necessary cost of the employer allowing no discount! And all these consensus between the employed and the employers could be followed only through an intermediate legal implementation by the government.
Last week, via a legal strike in big scale, a new page of history in Taiwan’s labor movement was inscribed by a labor union of China Airline Company. After this historic strike, Taiwan society learned a lesson that the labor union, instead of playing a cheerleader for the employers, should speak out for the employed when they are unfairly treated. As to the traffic inconveniences incurred during the strike, people showed their more sympathetic support and understanding.
Against the strike event in the past, there was a widespread and stereotyped reaction, instinctively sprung from those who were also employed, intimidating the protesting labor workers: “Quit the job if any complaint!” Therefore, there is a disheartening but vividly descriptions of the minds of those schizophrenic employed ones as “Birds in the cage think flying outside is a disease!”.
In fact, an extra working hours of Taiwanese labor has always scandalously renown around the world. In the past years, though the cases of labor death due to overwork have occurred in the rise, many employer unions still loudly insist Taiwan’s working hours are too short to compete with other countries. Some employers even claim that inhibiting labor’s overwork is getting rid of their chances to earn money! Such an exploitative mindset of Taiwan employer reminds us of those shameless greedy capitalists in modern colonial capitalism.
Facing the overwork issue of Taiwan society, our traditional pride as a hard-working people needs to be changed. A recovery of the labor rights means to restore his/her dignity as a person. In Europe, there are so many examples to prove that national competitiveness in economics have nothing to do with long working hours and/or lower wages! Taiwan’s labor force has to believe “Flying Is Not A Disease!’