Saturday, November 18, 2017

How the labor law changes screw workers

How the labor law changes screw workers

eecc41.JPG
Aboriginal performers at a resort

Kassy Cho on Twitter explains:
Currently, Taiwanese workers are entitled to 1 fixed day off and 1 flexible day off per week. If you work on your flexible day off, it’s considered overtime, and you should be paid in increments of 4 hours. i.e. 1–4 hours counts as 4 hours, 4-8 hours counts as 8 hours and so on

Employees are legally entitled to 7 holiday days a year in their first 2 years at the company, increasing to 10 days for their 3rd and 4th years, and 14 days after 5 years and so on, with a max of 30 holiday days after working at a company for 25 years

I should also preface this with: Taiwanese people are some of the most overworked people out there, with many getting off work any time from 10pm to past midnight and usually not paid for any overtime at all

Holidays are rare, and employers have the power to reject holiday requests and often do. I know because I have worked in Taiwan and experienced this myself. Anyway, here are the proposed reforms and what they mean:

Overtime pay will no longer be rounded up to four hour increments and employees will only receive pay for the exact number of hours they have worked.

Comp days are now valid for two years. Employees will no longer be able to take or get paid for any comp days they didn’t take at the end of the year but may have to wait another year before they can take the days or get paid for them

The minimum time employees have off between shifts will be shortened from 11 hours to 8 hours, meaning if you get off at 6pm, you could theoretically be called into work at 2am and have to go.

The maximum number of days employees can work in a row before a day off will be doubled from 6 days, meaning people could work 12 days straight before getting a day off.

The maximum hours a person can work a week will also be increased from 46 hours to 54 hours.

Also worth noting the fact that 7 public holidays were already cancelled with the launch of this act

All of this goes to say, employees are very concerned that these reforms could mean longer shifts and less rest in a culture that already promotes and actively encourages overwork
She ends by linking to this piece from The Reporter that explains everything (Chinese).

The massive piles of homework and the cram schools exist for a couple of reasons. One is politics: students can't develop interests outside school or engage in political activity if they are loaded down with homework and thirty hours of class each week.

But the other is to habituate students to their future work lives in which their time will be controlled by the one with authority over their lives -- first the school, then their boss. Taiwan culture powerfully instills the idea that hard work will pay off and authority should not be challenged. These values make Taiwanese ideal workers for a slave-driving employer class.

The real white privilege in Taiwan isn't the ability of white males to get attention from local women (wildly exaggerated) or easily getting jobs as cram school clowns/teachers. It is being exempt from this hellish system of time control.

The DPP has screwed labor again, after courting it before the election. Unfortunately there is no third party labor can turn to, the NPP being too small and the KMT being the party of big business. In 2018 I expect that many in the working class will sit home while others will switch parties to punish the DPP. It appears that the DPP idea of "social justice" is limited to those areas where social justice touches on KMT power.

Recall that the miracle economy was built on the premise of cheap, well-controlled labor. This enabled families to open factories. Workers would learn skills and go off to open factories on their own, supported by networks of similar factories operating in clusters: the famous "Shoes Nest" in Taichung, the bike industry cluster around Dajia, the mold and die cluster in Sanchong, the textile cluster near Yuanlin and Hemei in Changhua, the furniture cluster in Kaohsiung (see Hsieh's Boss Island for a description of how workers spun off bosses in the old system). That system was also premised on links to the US economy via exchange students, emigrants, and political exiles.

The US middle class has been destroyed, and the workers can no longer accumulate the social and financial capital to open their own tiny factories with so many firms moved to China, but the Taiwanese family run factory business lives on, a 1970s zombie in a 21st century world. The only way it can survive is by exploitation: exploiting workers by overworking and underpaying them, exploiting the environment by ignoring regulations, and exploiting females.

The move to China enabled Taiwanese family firms to continue to survive in the global market without investing in upgrading production technology and management. Now such firms are leaving China looking for marginalized labor forces elsewhere in places like Indonesia and Burma. But to remain "competitive" Taiwan firms are rolling back the pittance of labor rights in Taiwan. This will enable bosses to continue to exploit labor in lieu of investment in upgrading productivity.

Indeed, Premier William Lai's recent call for a $30,000 minimum salary was quickly "clarified" to include only large firms. It was just a nod of the head and polite meaningless words...

The productivity-wage gap in Taiwan is huge, and for bosses, seductive. Taiwan labor is among the cheapest in developing countries, relative to its productivity. Yet labor exploitation can only lead to the slow fossilization of Taiwan firm productivity and production techniques, leaving Taiwan further behind the global production curve, while talented and capable Taiwanese look elsewhere to sell their labor. "Reforms" like this hurt the island by feeding the brain drain while convincing small and medium sized firm owners that they can go on indefinitely substituting labor for capital in the productivity race...

Perhaps the bosses are hoping that they can exploit workers until robots become widely available, capable, and cheap, but I doubt they are that forward looking. Rather, this law is simply the visceral response to labor: exploit labor more, a subset of the Great Answer to all social "problems" in Taiwan society: more contro

Friday, October 27, 2017

Truth about 9/11 likely would take down the USA as a global empire leading to civil war

The truth about the September 11, 2001 terror attacks would not only destabilize the American political system but it would also take down the US as a global empire, an American scholar says.

download (10)
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a founding member of the Scientific Panel for the Investigation of 9/11, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Tuesday, while commenting on the ongoing feud between Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Jeb Bush over the 9/11 attacks.
On Friday, Trump blamed former US President George W. Bush for the September 11, 2001 attacks. On Sunday, Trump said that if he had been president in 2001, his immigration policy would have kept al-Qaeda terrorists from attacking the US.
In response, Bush said his brother, George W. Bush, is not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. “Look, my brother responded to a crisis, and he did it as you would hope a president would do.”
“He united the country,” Bush told CNN. “He organized our country, and he kept us safe. And there’s no denying that. The great majority of Americans believe that.”
77451116.jpg
SUPER PATRIOTS?
Bush deserves blame for 9/11
Dr. Barrett said everyone in the United States believes that George W. Bush deserves blame for the September 11, 2001 attacks.
“Ever since 9/11, many Americans, between one-third in some polls who say that the US government under Bush perpetrated the 9/11 attacks or intentionally let them happen in order to trigger war in the Middle East, and up to 90 percent of Americans in other polls, who say that they don’t really believe or fully believe the official story of 9/11, this issue has been a smoldering barrel of political dynamite,” he said. “And now it’s smoldering a little bit harder, and it might just go off.”
“According to Jeb Bush, the brother of George Bush, Jeb being the apparent favorite candidate to win the Republican nomination for president, at least until Trump emerged…Jeb is now on the defensive, arguing that his brother George W. Bush was not responsible and there’s no blame for the 9/11 attacks,” he added.
“Of course, this is an issue that Jeb cannot possibly win on, because no matter how you analyze the 9/11 attacks, whether you’ve done the full investigation using alternative sources, such as the magisterial work of Dr. David Ray Griffin, to learn that in fact the 9/11 attacks were not a surprise attack by a foreign enemy, they were in fact an inside job, a spectacular public relations stunt designed to create a neoconservative policy coup d’etat and launch a series of wars that would primarily benefit Israel,” he said.
“But whether you’ve done the research and figured that out or not, you have to admit that Bush was clearly responsible for 9/11 even if he was not actively complicit in this coup d’etat,” Dr. Barrett noted.
“And even if you refuse to admit that it was a coup d’etat, it’s obvious that Bush should be blamed for what happened,” he stated.
pota-statue-of-liberty-2.jpeg
The September, 11, 2001 attacks, also known as the 9/11 attacks, were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage.
US officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists but many experts have raised questions about the official account.
They believe that rogue elements within the US government, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, orchestrated or at least encouraged the 9/11 attacks in order to accelerate the US war machine and advance the Zionist agenda.
Bush receives CIA briefing  
“In August of 2001, George W. Bush received the president’s daily briefing from the CIA, and it was headlined, ‘Bin Laden determined to attack in the United States’. Bush whipped his neck around and angrily screamed, ‘Well, you’ve covered your ass now,’” Dr. Barrett said.
“Of course, the ungenerous interpretation of this is that Bush knew full well that plans were proceeding apace for the big public relations event in September, and he did not appreciate the CIA briefer covering his posterior while passing the buck up to the president,” he added.
“The other interpretation would be that Bush is just such a complete fool and idiot that his outburst had no real meaning, and he should be blamed for 9/11 not as a complicit perpetrator, or someone who intentionally knew it was coming and let it happen, but rather someone whose incompetence was so overwhelming that somehow he caused the entire military defense system of the United States to have an unprecedented collapse,” he continued.
The American scholar went on to say that “the bottom line here is that it’s obvious to everyone in the United States that George W. Bush deserves blame for 9/11.”
“The only question is whether because he was insanely incompetent and somehow magically projected his grotesque incompetence on the rest of the government and then saw everyone who was incompetent get promoted, or was it something much, much worse. But the reality is it was much, much worse,” he emphasized.
“And if this political dynamite bomb goes off, it’s not just going to take out the Bush family, which has been the most corrupt organized crime family in America running the drug dealings at the CIA, among other things, but it’s going to take down the whole political system as we know it today, and possibly going to take down the US as a global empire,” he observed.
c6bj03.jpg
“That’s one reason everybody in the US here is afraid to open up this can of worms. But that actually would be a very good thing; nothing better could possibly happen to the planet than for this can of worms to get opened, and for the US empire to be taken down, and for something more in line with the ideals of America’s founding fathers to rise up out of the ashes,” Dr. Barrett concluded.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

NY Times Sour Grape Article about Communism for Minorities

When The Harlem Renaissance Went to Communist Moscow

The NY Times article gets right to work stating  the disappointment African Americans had, and still will get, looking to Lenin socialism as the answer to inequality inherent in Hollywood USA. It suggests Langston Hughes was misled by Russia's unbiased treatment of non-Protestants in "China Express." He said “the American Negro stands very little chance of achieving true representation.” Hughes understood when a Soviet movie about American racism fell through, as movies often do, but the Times points to it as a failure of socialism. 

The "got-you" moment in the NY Times article comes when the writer says how "by the time Robeson was beginning his great romance with the Soviet project, McKay and many African-Americans (including the novelist Richard Wright) were moving away from it." The gist of the Times is: 'Anyone non-WASP is mad to think any place is better for minorities than America,' but the writers and poets of the 20's who left for Paris and Josephine Baker would disagree with you and even into the 60's, Eartha Kitt was hounded for pointing out constant inequality. Charlie Chaplin put himself is exile to escape the black list of McCarthyism in the 50's. Even Woody Guthrie, Peter Seeger, and Phil Ochs were ostracized; only Bob Dylan, who became a turncoat of socialism, survived the scrutiny. 

The NY Times article is mean-spirited and ignorant in the face of constant oppression of minorities in the USA perhaps trying to make a point that even Trump's America is better than socialism! Are they getting ready to defend Clinton's neo-liberalism again if Bernie Sanders or a real socialist runs for president in 2020?  Is it still "My country right or wrong" to the NY Times though it is apparent the U.S. is only a country good for the ruling classes of both main political parties?

As the inspiration for breaking the chains of capitalist oppression, Leninist thought is at the heart of many an oppressed victim of capitalist colonialism and oppression, from Vietnam to Cuba to Bolivia and Venezuela. 

Sorry New York, your Times is expired. You're  Putin on the Ritz accusing a revisionist Russian mafia state of influencing American politics. It is your only outside blame leftist.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Taiwan Is Suffering From a Massive Brain Drain and the Main Beneficiary is China

Taiwan university students take class photo ahead of graduation
A group of students from the National Chiayi University in Chiayi City, southwestern Taiwan, poses for a class photo on campus on Dec. 8, 2014. Kazuhiko Yamashita—Kyodo

Taiwan Is Suffering From a Massive Brain Drain and the Main Beneficiary is China

Aug 21, 2017
Money talks. At least it did for Eddie Chen and, presumably, for many of the 420,000 of his Taiwanese compatriots who opted to earn a higher salary by working in mainland China.
Chen, 26, moved from the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, to Beijing in 2014, first to study a Masters on a full scholarship, and then to work in PR for a major international company.
He earns double what he would in his native Taiwan, where starting salaries for graduates have barely risen since the late 1990s. “China has a bigger market and there is more globalization here,” he explains. “Taiwan does not offer many opportunities for young people.”
Official government statistics reveal that by 2015 over 720,000 out of Taiwan’s roughly 10-million strong workforce, 72.5% of them with an undergraduate degree or higher, had moved overseas for better job opportunities.
Unsurprisingly, neighboring China, with its common language, has absorbed the majority.
But it is also actively luring Taiwan’s best talent, contributing to an acute brain drain that not only threatens the Taiwanese economy, but has prompted fears that Beijing, which claims the island as its own territory, is using its economic clout to try to buy political influence.
A recent flow of mainland initiatives to recruit Taiwanese students and entrepreneurs has jangled nerves in the self-ruled democracy that China is expanding efforts to win the loyalty of the younger generation with financial sweeteners, taking advantage of Taiwan’s sluggish economy.
China has targeted Taiwan’s educated elite for years, but a recent uptick in job and education incentives suggests a shift in tactics since cross-strait relations soured over Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s refusal to accept Beijing’s policy that the island of 24 million is part of ‘One China’.
Its attempts to punish Taiwan through international isolation, blocking it from United Nations meetings and poaching from its small remaining pool of diplomatic allies, appears only to have fortified Taiwanese resolve to forge their own identity.
The young in particular identify more acutely with Taiwan as their home country and China as a giant neighboring state. But the long term impact of offering millennials a higher standard of living is hard to predict.
China has made no secret of its belief that financial benefits can, over time, dilute, and eventually displace national identity and advance its unification agenda.
Reports emerged in April that Beijing would appeal to business grass-roots through the All China Federation of Taiwanese Compatriots, led by Wang Yifu, a former advisor to President Xi Jinping on Taiwan.
The plan to offer attractive study and work opportunities was followed this summer by invitations to Taiwanese local leaders and youth groups to mainland camps and cultural activities.
Last month, China’s education ministry announced it would halve the quota of Chinese students in Taiwan while relaxing entrance rules for Taiwanese at mainland universities, fueling suspicion of attempted social engineering.
Taiwan ChinaA tourism-related business worker holds a slogan reading "No Job, No Life." during a march in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday, Sept. 13, 2016.  Chiang Ying-ying—AP 
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which oversees cross-strait relations, urged China to “cherish and maintain” educational exchanges, warning against “interference or restrictions.”
It reminded Taiwanese students of “major differences” between the two countries’ education systems.
But politics is the last thing on Ling Kuang-hsuan’s mind as the postgraduate student, 22, excitedly prepares to start a two year Masters course in human resources at Peking university this September.
She believes Peking’s top reputation will improve her job prospects and, like Eddie Chen, she sees her future in China.
“I hope I can stay in China and find a job…Most of my friends also hope that they can work there after they graduate,” Ling adds. “There are many international companies that don’t have a franchise in Taiwan but they do have one in China.”
Her chances are good. China’s major cities offer a thriving scene of multinational companies and lucrative incentives for start-ups.
In 2015, Chinese e-commerce magnate, Jack Ma, announced a $330 million fund for Taiwanese entrepreneurs.
Just last month, the Taipei-based China Times reported an award of almost $400,000 for a business start-up contest for Taiwanese youth in Shanghai.
Chen admits that China’s vibrant business climate lured him back after his studies when he struggled to start a PR company in Taiwan.
“It was easy to start, but not to survive,” he says. “In Taiwan they play more a short term game. They want their investment back soon.”
The Chinese, however, treated him like a “star”, offering an office and financial incentives. “The Chinese government want people to start-up. They want this trend,” he says.
Chen sold his stake in his company to advance his career in a large international firm.
In China, ambitious Taiwanese professionals also find they can progress quicker than they would at home. “Our company is willing to give younger people more of a chance,” says Chen.
China may feel like a foreign country where “we still understand that we are different culturally and politically”, but for now it is Chen’s home. “Taiwan is much more a place for retirement,” he adds.
The roots of Taiwan’s talent deficit lie in its slow export-reliant economy and the failure to make tough reforms to attract foreign investment and to shift from previously successful labor-intensive industries towards high technology and services.
Meanwhile, neighboring China enjoys high growth. In July it reported an annual pace of 6.9% while Taiwan hovers at around 2%.
Job seekers look at job information at an employment fair in Taipei, TaiwanJob seekers look at job information at an employment fair in Taipei, Taiwan on May 28, 2016.  Tyrone Siu—REUTERS  
To add to Taiwan’s woes, graduate salaries have stagnated. In 1999, a university graduate could expect an average monthly salary of around $900. By 2016, this had risen to just $925.
“If China is growing at 6 percent a year and Taiwan is growing at 2 percent a year, which is going to be the most attractive place to go to stake out your career?” asks Michael Zielenziger, Asia expert and a managing editor at Oxford Economics, a U.K.-based economics and research consultancy.
“It’s very difficult for a young, bright Taiwanese student to ignore the bright lights, big city appeal of either China or the States. It’s a challenge to the government to make the country more attractive, to keep people at home and bring them back,” he says.
In 2012, Oxford Economics produced a survey that made the dire prediction that by 2021, Taiwan would have the biggest talent deficit in the world.
“Taiwan comes in poorly for a number of obvious factors. The population is not increasing...It’s getting older,” says Zielenziger.
Caught in a vicious cycle, low wages have left young people less inclined to start a family, contributing to declining birthrates.
Youth are resentful that Taiwan’s generous state pension system leaves, for example, retired high school teachers on a monthly stipend of around $2,250, while they struggle to make ends meet.
The resulting exodus leaves less workers to support the swelling ranks of the old, pushing the pensions system towards the brink of bankruptcy.
Gordon Sun, director of the forecasting center at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, says the nature of the brain drain is exacerbating Taiwan’s economic troubles.
“They are high level managers, engineers, they are rich, their income is high,” he says.
“Most of their spending or consumption is in China. So in Taiwan our consumption cannot grow,” he argues. “We need them to come back and live here and spend here.”
Shanghai records best month for air quality in five yearsTourists visiting the promenade on the Shanghai Bund take pictures of the Lujiazui Financial District skyline in Pudong, Shanghai, China, on Sept. 26 2016.  Wang Gang—Imaginechina  
But the notion of China presenting itself as the land of opportunity in exchange for Taiwanese loyalty is misguided, believes Taipei-based analyst Michael Cole, a senior fellow at Nottingham University’s China Policy Institute.
Firstly, China has no clear strategy to win over Taiwan. “Right now, they don’t know what to do,” he argues.
“They’ve long been infatuated with notions of economic determinism. They tried that with Tibet and they tried that with Hong Kong to an extent,” Cole says.
“They still don’t seem to realize the pragmatism with which people are dealing with China, in which they recognize the opportunities for their career or for investment, but very rarely does that translate into a shift in self-identification or support for unification.”
Lo Chih-cheng, a legislator with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), agrees that young people will see through attempts to politically manipulate them.
“They want to show especially to young people, that China is their future, and Taiwan has nowhere to go to but to turn to China. That’s their strategy: Taiwan has to depend on China for economic development,” he says.
“I don’t know whether it works or not but I don’t think it will change their identity,” Lo adds. “There is a huge difference between the way of life in Taiwan and China that will reinforce their views about themselves being Taiwanese not Chinese.”
Others are more concerned that the long term impact of offering financial security to an entire generation, could slowly erode resistance to China’s political ambitions.
Unlike Hong Kong, freedom of speech and democracy is not directly under threat for now in Taiwan, giving the young fewer reasons to push back. Taiwanese identity is strong, but willingness to advocate independence less so.
Rex, 36, a Taiwanese banker, moved to Guangzhou, southern China, two years ago as he did not want to lose his job in Taiwan in middle age. “I don’t see a future for my work in Taiwan,” he says.
He now prefers the dynamism of China compared to the more regulatory business culture at home.
Politics plays little role in Rex’s personal life, but he believes that “Taiwan and the Chinese are going to merge some day in the future, 50 or 100 years from now” for more practical reasons.
“China is just too big and in Taiwan you cannot live without China being involved in your business,” he explains.
For many who opted to stay home, the steady drip of China’s economic influence over those who left has become a touchy subject.
Earlier this year, a Taiwanese man, Jeremy, 25, who works in Shanghai was denounced online as a “communist bandit” after he urged young people to leave and seek a better life overseas.
“I have friends in Taiwan who work inconceivably hard every day. They’re up at 5am and don’t finish up with work until 9 or 10pm at night. And what for? They have no future and no hopes,” he said in a video that went viral.
A tourist from Shanghai, China goes through a health checkup organised by the hospital to promote medical tourism in TaipeiA tourist from Shanghai, China goes through a health checkup organized by a hospital to promote medical tourism in Taipei June 28, 2011.  Pichi Chuang—REUTERS  
Dr Yang Tzu-ting, a research fellow at the Institute of Economics at Taiwan’s Academia Sinica, believes that a large Taiwanese labor force in China could “threaten our national security” and encourage some to become advocates for unification.
The best way for the Taiwanese government to counter this is to create better jobs and to boost the services industry, he argues.
An example would be to remove stifling annual quotas on medical training to create a health tourism sector, he says. Another would be to make universities more competitive to prevent academics escaping centralized, and low, wages.
Ross Feingold, a Taipei-based lawyer and public policy analyst, agrees that the Taiwanese government is not doing enough to stem the brain drain.
“One way to look at it is if China succeeds in getting young people to remain there during election time and not return home to vote for the DPP, that that would also work to China’s advantage,” he says.
“I think it’s just a transactional relationship where people want to have jobs that pay better and offer opportunities for promotion. Whether it builds personal affinity remains to be seen.”