Statement of Labor Day 5/1 March
By Taiwan Nurses Union
On the May 1st of the International Labor Day, the Taiwan Nurses Union joins the protest march with all labor unions of Taiwan in front of the Presidential Palace in Taipei, Taiwan. Our Slogan includes, cut working hour; against overwork; pay increase; against outsourcing. The shocking picture of a nurse being sick with IV drip but still working has been viewed widely on Taiwan media. Based on our investigation, nurses tend to delay getting off work and extend working hours up to 10-12 hours per shift in average. Long hours of working not only resulted in physical burden, emotional labor remains extreme high due to diverse, changeable and high concentration demand nature of the nursing job, ie. facing dying patients and their families. Both physical burden and emotional labor have detrimental effects on nurses. Studies indicated that high prevalence rate of occupational hazards include depression, abortion, needle stick injury, accidents on the way to work, or even suicide. Consequently, quality of patient care would be compromised and patients may face illness without nursing care at all. The rate of quitting nursing job in Taiwan remains high in 15.8% and up to 21.3% for new employees.
Although our Labor Standards Law has been amended to exclude nursing out of Article 84-1 which means to set the upper limit of working hours for nurses to 230 per month in 2014. Recent amendment of the Labor Standards Law shortens working hours per week to 40 in April, 2015, it simultaneously allows the extension of overtime hours to 54 hours 8 hours longer than originally allowed. All labor unions including nurses union were appalled with the amendment. The report of Ministry of Labor in Taiwan in 2014 indicated that almost 50% of health care industry did not pass the labor inspection in 2013 and up to 17 facilities have working our related violation, especially workers delayed off without receiving extra pay. We believe this amendment certainly aggravates working condition of nurses and deprive nurses right to rest. We stand up today and join all labor unions in Taiwan voice our loudest protest against the unfair amendment from the Ministry of Labor. We demand the re-opening of negotiation on working hours with labor unions and cut upper limit of overtime to only 40 hour per month.